Cast-offs are cast in a new light by Wanaka artist Robin Brisker.
Nothing escapes his creative eye and even his newly opened gallery is a recycled garage.
He has been creating artworks since the 1970s but still aims to extend his range.
‘‘I’ve been capricious in my style, for sure.’’
Moving forward as an artist was important to Brisker.
He has embraced a variety of styles and surfaces, from cubism to collage to large-scale murals.
At 66 years old he still aimed to ‘‘evolve and try something else’’, he said.
Breaking new ground has been part of Brisker’s life from the beginning.
He was born in Chicago and attended 12 schools in 12 years.
“My dad was a very clever guy in the food supermarket business and he kept getting headhunted, and so we just kept moving because he would get a better offer in New York and then in Boston, and that taught me to adapt to anything.’’
He started out as a cartoonist, and also spent time as a stand-up comic.
‘‘So I try to have humour in most of my stuff . . .I don’t try to, I just do.’’
Travel was a big part of his life —‘‘I’ve lived in 10 different countries’’.
But he had never lived in one place for very long until, in January 2000, he arrived in Wanaka, and enjoyed it so much he stayed.
Brisker transforms collected items from his travels into collages, using items such as magazines, stamps, found objects, even medical receipts from the 1930s.
These are all arranged with care and embellished with drawings and paint.
‘‘Collage is a whole different thing that I enjoy because it’s the most unique kind of style.’’
People commissioning works sometimes asked for items like saved letters from a loved one to be incorporated into the artwork, Brisker said.
‘‘Instead of just sitting in a drawer, I can make an image out of it and frame it and then they have it on the wall as a memory of grandpa.’’
This urge to recycle and repurpose included his studio gallery, which was a 100-year-old garage, originally from Dunedin.
Brisker turned it from a garage into a studio by substituting old wooden sliding rail doors for glass doors, installing track lighting and lining the interior.
The studio had been on his property for about 10 years, but in a recent collaboration with nearby restaurant Hook Wanaka, the entire studio was lifted by a crane and transported to a new location next to the restaurant.
‘‘So all of a sudden I have an office. I like it. I have to leave the property every day and go to work.’’
– An exhibition of Brisker’s work marking 20 years in Central Otago is at Hullabaloo Art Space, in the Cromwell Heritage Precinct, until January 30.