WILD ART: The Art of Dean Raybould


New Zealand and Nelson based Dean Raybould is a highly illustrative artist with a fondness for tongue in cheek word-play in the titles of his paintings or expressed in the painting them selves. They are characterised by his use of bright colours and tongue in cheek humorous wit. More often than note they contain some lyrical reference a reflection of Dean’s own musical passion which includes “over the eons” being part of several loud and punk
influenced bands.

Dean’s world cast New Zealand in surrealist environment that has
its roots firmly grounded in his own distinctive “tongue in cheek” (Art By the Sea) style. Deans work in a mixed media that is primarily dominated by oil on board though Dean also happily uses glass. wood, canvas and old guitar to paint on as well. You don’t have to go far in his adopted home town of Takaka Golden Bay to find Dean’s work, whether its on the local picture theater where Dean works part time, or on businesses like The Dangerous Kitchen. Dean’s quirky characters are loved close to home and afar with his influence Dean continued 23 Extending beyond Golden Bay to the wider Tasman Marlborough where he exhibits at galleries such as Art By the Sea, Cool Store, Parkers, Halifax Art Refinery, Red Art, Millennium.

Nor is Dean’s popularity a recent development being for example one of the
contributing artist whose work created the interior for the former land mark cafe of the 1990’s Zippys on Hardy St where Dean created the original Zippy Cafe Jester logo. This in addition to exhibiting in national galleries such as Kura and Internationally in Australia where he originally migrated.
DEAN has being compared to art laureate William (Bill) Hammond of Christchurch (SEE BELOW).

A comparison made in that his work like Hammond have both a distinctive surreal quality and is marked by a repeated fascination with New Zealand birds and the New Zealand landscape. True New Zealand native birds are a
reoccurring theme of Deans work but aside from the fact his world is also
populated by guitars, music, fighter planes (or to be precise entities that are half native birds half fighter plane), TARDIS’s and other sci influenced flotsam and jetson, which Dean’s acknowledges as coming from his “inner geek”, it fair to say Dean’s artistic universe is more light hearted and eclectic than Hammond’s artistic universe.

Both artist do not shy away from engaging social political or environmental
issues in their collective works but Hammond’s world is a grim singular whose raw intensity threatens to draw you to the dark side of the moon whether you want go for a ride in the strange unoccupied black limo (which has just pulled up and opened its doors) or not.

Raybold’s art in contrast is a super nova which splatters its canvas with a
firework’s burst of playful ideas, stimuli and emotions, devoid of melancholy. It is presented to the audience in a confident but not haughty ‘take it or leave it’ invitation which never takes it or the artist too seriously.
In Hammond’s surreal galaxy its pupiless denizens hint (in a deliciously
disturbing manner) at a haunting grim hysterical madness that lurks just round the corner for those who poke to deeply.

In contrast Dean world’s, with buckets of dark humour laid on super thick, laughs out loud and drags the frightful monsters, which lurk under our bed, in our closets, in our heads, directly on to center stage. Raybould then unceremoniously proceeds to plonk a birthday hat on the poor confused fang encrusted demons head as he hands out giant colourful balloons and chocolate cake to every one. The strategy is clear Raybould encourage his audience to laugh together at the irrationality of our personal fears in manner which allows us to challenges directly our own dark places
face to face. In this manner Dean aims to empower us as opposed to having us believe there are some forces out there too great to be engaged. Dean’s world is action packed, exciting, challenging, it sets out to give the old brain a serious workout, yet in the end Dean’s World is a place where our monsters are quite adorable once you get to know them.



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