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John Pule is a New Zealand-based artist and poet. Martin Ball chose to paint him because “he’s such a dynamic looking character. He’s got a very interesting face, and I really admire his work.”
All of Ball’s work over the last seven years has been in a similar format: large-scale and very pared back, focussing just on head and shoulders. He consciously chooses to keep the work minimal, and therefore wants any statement about it to be brief and simple.
Born in Auckland in 1952, Ball is known for his hyper realistic paintings and drawings. He studied at the Elam School of Fine Arts, University of Auckland in the 1970s. Although early works included subjects influenced by American pop artists (details of motor bikes, for example) and still life, he has always been interested in portraiture and began to focus on it in 2000 with an exhibition of five enormous artist portraits. Since then, Ball has continued his investigation into portraiture and scale and the resulting effect on viewers. He has had regular solo exhibitions in New Zealand since 1975 and has been represented in numerous group exhibitions. His work is held in various public collections in New Zealand.