For many years I have been a passionate fan and collector of the New Zealand artist Billy Apple. He is a fascinating man with an imagination that comes from far, far left field. In the mid-seventies, Billy was one of a small number of artists to develop what now known as conceptual art. One of the best ideas he had was as a young artist in London: he changed his name from Barrie Bates to Billy Apple as a conceptual art work. A smart move in art terms but a brilliant one in memorability stakes.
As Billy Apple he showed in Europe and the United States, and somehow put in time to become a highly awarded designer in New York. He now lives in Auckland. I have a number of Billy’s paintings and we are helping out with a new project that involves the naming of the (yes) Billy Apple. I’m talking about an apple called … Billy Apple. As I say, his imagination is out there.
Working in an industry that lives and dies on its ability to come up with creative ideas, people like Billy are a true inspiration. A large exhibition looking at all stages of his art career is in the planning. I’ll keep you posted.