Like his illustration work, Dean Proudfoot’s painting styles vary dramatically. His body of work includes portraits and large landscapes, retro pop works and florals, as well phrase paintings – a selection of which we have brought together here under the theme of ‘Word Works’.
Dean’s work appears in a number of collections, including three in New Zealand’s largest and most prestigious private collection, The Sir James Wallace trust, and his works have been offered at a number of auction houses.
“Painting helps keep my illustration work fresh,” says Dean, who finds that it enables him to self-express and experiment. “There’s nothing better than selling a work that you’ve produced without outside direction.”
While Dean’s artistic style varies, there is always a common thread of humour.
“Art should cause a reaction,” Dean explains. “For me there’s nothing better than a smile from someone who gets the joke or relates to what you’re trying to communicate in a positive way. I hope my works can start conversations or provoke a reaction.”
McCahon is famous for the text paintings that he produced late in his career, many of which were based on Biblical passages, while Frizzell is the king of ‘low brow’ art in New Zealand. Dean has always found Frizzell’s sense of fun and ‘cheeky winks to popular culture’ appealing.
“My phrase paintings are a homage to both,” says Dean. “A lot of my works play with juxtapositions and this is an expression of that.”
Dean tends to work mostly in oils, he says he finds them more forgiving than acrylic because “the paint does what it’s told”.
Word Works is an ongoing body of work for Dean, who asserts that he’ll continue producing these “cheeky paintings” so long as there’s a customer and base and the ideas keep coming.
“My works are always evolving, I get bored pretty quickly and always try to push boundaries,” says Dean. “As soon as anything begins to feel like paint by numbers, I want to move on. The trick is keeping the work fresh enough that I’m having fun and not pushing too far too quickly, thereby alienating those that like my work.”