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Where the wild things are

Oils, mostly, were the glue. Alcohol the fuel, says the text that accompanies a selection of collaborative works painted by John Walsh, Richard Rogers and the late Daryl File.

“Raucous rock music provided the soundtrack, fostering and driving a frenzy of creativity, expressed by brush and paint,” continues the blurb about the trio's collaborative works.

On display at Verve Cafe, the paintings in the collection, A Second Fruiting, are from the Fruits of a Splendid Isolation exhibition that was at Tairawhiti Museum last year.

Humour, mate-ship, collaboration — it is all in the works created by the three blokes who began their artistic trajectory as Gisborne Boys' High students. Tutored by artist Norman Maclean, the trio were the school's “arts guys”.

They hung out together, they partied together and they painted together. Often it was all three.

“Boards donated or acquired for collaborative works would be set up, as well as the artists' own, and the artists would rotate from one to the other, go from one board to the other on a whim.

In one collaborative work from A Second Fruiting, the twin-hulled voyaging canoe that ploughs through a jade-green sea as it heads into stormy weather is clearly Walsh's input.

Bill Hammond-ish, bird-like figures, possibly also Walsh's work, stand atop the whare on the boat.

But the surrealistic monkey-like figure and the big-headed, fish-like form with human facial figures and a long trailing tail are highly likely Rogers' and File's contribution.

“Where one might draw an image, another coloured it; another might paint out a part — or the whole — or add something to alter the meaning and context of the painting,” says the text.

This might draw down mock indignation but the painting-party would go on into the wee smalls.

“John would be looser than normal, seeing beauty on the spontaneous stroke, Daz (Daryl) would contribute with a stock call, “my wife and child were on that wagon train” and Richard would subject all to a barrage of extreme music.

“All the while painting, painting, painting.”

The works cover a period of 40 years; the images were conceived and painted over time — “mostly in Daryl's studio as that's where the parties happened.”

A Second Fruiting, collaborative works painted by John Walsh, Richard Rogers and the late Daryl File, Verve Cafe.

IN THE SAME BOAT: High school mates and artists John Walsh, Richard Rogers and the late Daryl File hung out together, and partied and painted together to create collaborative works that feature strongly in a collection called A Second Fruiting.Picture by Ray Teutenberg