'The Masked Artist'
Zachery Hawkins is an artist from Christchurch, New Zealand.
As a child he found most subjects in school very difficult and hard to understand due to his dyslexia, so he would draw in his workbooks slowly developing his own unique style. He is most known for his mixed media paintings on canvas incorporating all sorts of materials including dried paint chips, plastics and plaster of Paris to create abstract textures that combine to form a photo realistic surrealist style. This often transforms into three dimensional objects, that blur the lines between what traditional painting formats are supposed to look like. His work is very unapologetic, believing people take art too seriously and that can put people off going into a traditional gallery setting, as well as the overly formal aspect of the public galleries.
He also has created characters called ‘masked artists’ that are based on the idea that we all hide behind a curated mask for our public and social media image presentation. Due to Covid-19 we have recently all been required to wear a mask that has saved lives, but that also creates a more physical social barrier between us. Each mask is different, portraying a popular character in society or poking fun at social media, with the aim to help to relax attitudes to mask wearing as it has a deep rooted history in theatre and performance art.
He says he enjoys making the masked artist as they allow him a freedom to express his ideas, that it doesn’t require the audience to take them to seriously and allows him to get away with doing or saying things that normally would be quite risky because of their harmless cartoonist look. “I can challenge the things I don’t necessarily agree with or at least start more of a conversation around these issues”.