Havelock Artist Josh Lancaster takes on The Big Apple Project

Havelock Artist Josh Lancaster working on his big apple for the Hawke’s Bay Big Apple Project. Photo / Paul Taylor

The Big Apple Project is a mass participation public art trail event brought to Hastings by Arts Inc Heretaunga, Studio Benega and the Hawke’s Bay Arts Festival.

Josh Lancaster is one of 20 local artists who has been given a one cubic metre fibreglass apple to use as a blank canvas to create a unique apple sculpture.

Once complete, the apples will weave through Hastings, creating a fun, free art gallery from mid-August to October, before being put up in a public auction at the 2022 Hawke’s Bay Arts Festival.

Seven years ago, Lancaster moved away from creative advertising in Auckland and into the role of full-time artist in Hawke’s Bay.

The blank one cubic metre fibreglass apple before Josh Lancaster started working on his landscape. Photo / Supplied
The blank one cubic metre fibreglass apple before Josh Lancaster started working on his landscape. Photo / Supplied

Known for his acrylic landscapes on large canvases, Lancaster has had eight solo shows, but most of his work involves commissioned pieces.

The artist lives and works in his Havelock North home, surrounded by trees and overlooking a stream.

“It’s a beautiful and peaceful place to live and a wonderfully creative environment to paint in,” Lancaster said.

“I love painting the places that connect us and that help tells our story of the places we call home.”

Taking on The Big Apple Challenge, Lancaster has said he loves the challenge of an unusually shaped canvas.

Josh Lancaster planning out a panorama of Mt Erin popping up over a sea of apple trees in a Hastings orchard. Photo / Supplied
Josh Lancaster planning out a panorama of Mt Erin popping up over a sea of apple trees in a Hastings orchard. Photo / Supplied

Particularly in tackling a three-dimensional form, he really has to think about how the composition works.

“Normally, I’d have four straight edges to frame a composition within, whereas an apple has none,” Lancaster said.

In the past, the artist has been asked to paint skateboards, woks, oars, guitars, violins, bike helmets and giant Easter eggs.

“Each has had its own challenges, but it has also resulted in a truly unique one-off piece.”

When asked why he applied to take on the Big Apple project, he said, “a super-sized fibreglass apple felt like a good thing I could add to that list”.

Josh Lancaster focuses on the details and composition of his big apple to make sure it looks just right. Photo / Paul Taylor
Josh Lancaster focuses on the details and composition of his big apple to make sure it looks just right. Photo / Paul Taylor

Lancaster’s plan is to paint an ‘epic’ panorama of Mt Erin popping up over a sea of apple trees in a Hastings orchard.

“Hawke’s Bay apples and I have quite a few things in common.”

“We like being outside, love a bit of sun, share an appreciation for trees and we are both lucky enough to be faced with this view every day,” the artist said.

Mount Erin is the dramatic backdrop for the apple orchards of Hastings.

“And although I can’t speak for the apples, the way its folds and ridges catch the afternoon sun always makes me happy.”

Lancaster and the other 19 artists must have their apples completed and delivered by July 31.

You can find out more information about The Big Apple Project at https://www.artsinc.co.nz/projects/the-big-apple-project/the-big-apple-project/