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Artidote . . . Dean Raybould has worked in visual arts his whole life. PHOTO: RUBY HEYWARD

Art is an antidote for Dean Raybould.

Raybould has worked his entire life as a graphic artist — creating art for other people.
That changed when he picked up a paint brush and started painting for himself.

A culmination of his background in graphic art and self taught painting, Raybould’s first solo exhibition, Te Huia Knows Whe(a)re , will be held at the Forrester Gallery from February 12.

Born in Taranaki, Raybould and his parents moved to Australia when he was 6 years old.

He grew up there, as his family travelled the country.

Once out of secondary school, he started his commercial arts career in a graphic design studio before designing t-shirts.

After about 25 years in Australia, he moved back to New Zealand with his partner, Linda Keig, and their first child.

Raybould spent 12 years as an advertising artist for the Nelson Mail. He started painting as an ‘‘antidote’’ to being in front of a computer all day.

He liked the spontaneity of coming up with an idea and the problem solving that resulted.

‘‘I think part of the fun of it is to make it up as you go — otherwise it becomes a bit too much like graphic art.’’

Raybould often painted over works or cut them up into smaller pieces — an easy enough feat, as much of his work was done on wood.

Sick of the limitations set by square frame, Raybould had taken to painting on wood cutouts and instruments.

Influenced by his graphic arts background — something he was unsure he could ever leave behind — Raybould’s work was distinguished by patterns, typography and symmetry.

It was also politically and environmentally motivated, exploring ideas around land use, housing and society.

Having been a listener and musician in the punk rock scene, Raybould was also influenced by its anti-establishment values and elaborate album covers.

Though an artist in his own right, Raybould still thought of himself as more of an illustrator.

‘‘The only difference is you’re not working to someone else’s needs.

‘‘I can basically do what I want, which is cool by me.’’

Since November 2020, Raybould and Keig have lived in Oamaru with three of their four children — their eldest now living in the North Island. Raybould juggles his painting with freelance graphic art work.