Artist wins $10,000 scholarship

Artist Rory French aims to provoke emotion through his carving. Supplied photo.

An aspiring artist has been awarded a $10,000 scholarship to further his passion in contemporary New Zealand carving.

Rory French, an up and coming wood sculpting artist based in Tauranga, was one of the many Kiwis to be awarded an AMP National Scholarship this year.

His sculptures are a mix of contemporary Maori geometry with a conceptual New Zealand feeling that represents a modern approach to a traditional art form.

Rory says he applied two or three months ago, but never expected to become a finalist let alone a scholarship winner.

“I found out on the night of the awards, so I had no idea - I was pretty much in shock.”

The 24-year-old artist says he aspires to become one of New Zealand's best contemporary carvers and to eventually be able to make a living out of his art, with ambitions to exhibit his artwork overseas.

“I've always done carving- my dad's a fabricator and I've always worked in sheds and have done a lot of sculpturing when I was younger, but it wasn't until High School that I actually discovered the passion for wood carving,” he says.

“I've wanted to turn my carving into a career since then, but I've had to do jobs on the side to make a living.”

Ancient swamp kauri pikorua on a painted steel stand.

With the help of the AMP scholarship, Rory says he will be able to improve his business and eventually make a sustainable living solely on carving.

“It's such an amazing opportunity, and I'm looking forward to the future.”

Managing Director Blair Vernon says the talent, dedication and courage of the 2017 AMP Scholarship applicants meant it was extremely rewarding as well as particularly challenging to choose this year's talented recipients.

“This year AMP will provide up to $200,000 to help inspirational and gifted New Zealanders of all ages and from all walks of life who have the courage to chase their dreams – whether it's a desire to start a new business, launch a community-focused project or to represent New Zealand at the Olympics, we can help turn their dream into reality.

“Since 1998 AMP is proud to have dedicated more than $2 million towards helping over 200 everyday Kiwis realise their dreams and to contribute in meaningful and profound ways to our communities. We will continue to help foster greatness in our gifted dreamers and we look forward to helping talented Kiwis like Rory go on to achieve great things.”

Carved whale tail with centre koru detailing.


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