LoadingLoading ...

Stephen Martyn Welch

Stephen Martyn Welch won New Zealand’s prestigious biennial Adam Portraiture Awards in 2012. Having been a finalist twice (in 2008 as well as 2 years earlier in 2006 where he was not only a finalist but also he was acknowledged with the People’s Choice Award. Since moving to Wanaka, Welch has also turned his hand to "plein air painting" to compliment his main genre of portraiture.


Stephen Martyn Welch
Stephen Martyn Welch - Artist

Stephen Martyn Welch

Stephen Martyn Welch, New Zealand’s portraiture artist.

From Dilworth boy, to army man, milkman and barman to Adam Portraiture prize winner, over the last 15 years Stephen Martyn Welch has cemented his position as one of New Zealand’s premier portrait painters.

 

Born in a small rural farming town, bought up by his mother and three older sisters, Welch has roots grounded in the can do mentality that is quintessentially characteristic of small town New Zealand.

At age 11, he was shipped off to Dilworth School for boys, and Auckland became his home. Failing miserably at secondary school art, unsure of a career path outside of his love for drawing, Welch decided to do the most logical thing and join the New Zealand Army. During his time in the Army, Welch continued to hone his skills in sketching, a pastime that would lead to a determined resolve to break into the art world.

Upon leaving the defence forces, Welch juggled jobs, painting in every spare moment eventually amassing a portfolio that would allow him to approach galleries in Auckland where his obvious painting skills demonstrated an incredible ability to capture the essence of his subjects. By 2000, Welch had established himself in the Auckland Art scene, with solo and joint exhibitions under his belt. He started taking private commissions and in 2006 began full time painting.

Being known for portraits, Welch was approached By Top Shelf Production to pilot a program that would showcase portrait talent and New Zealand spirit. The premise, to have 7 portrait artists conduct interviews, while painting well known Kiwi’s was ambitious, and in the early stages of production the company recognised Welch’s remarkable ability to hold intimate conversations with his subjects, transferring personality into portraiture, capturing that certain something in a story that would make his work stand out.

They made a decision to bank on this ability, and base the entire show upon one artist- and Welch did not disappoint. The Sitting, Series 1 aired in 2008, Series 2 following in 2011, and whether it was in conversation with music artists, politicians or actors- Welch’s down to earth interviews provided engaging insights- and the resulting portraits would demonstrate his incredible talent with a brush.

With his footing firmly placed as one of New Zealand’s leading portrait artists, if there was any doubt to his ability, this would end in 2012 when he would go on to win the Adam Portraiture award.

Achieving what he set out to do in the Auckland, Welch relocated his family to the picturesque south Island town of Wanaka where he continues pushing his abilities as a portrait artist, using his skills on private commissions and to support various charities such as The Neonatal Trust, The RSA, Starship Children’s Hospital, Sir Ray Avery’s Mondiale Life Pods and closer to home his class at the Aspiring Enliven Dementia Unit where once a month he paints with the residents.

Everyone deserves a portrait.

Welch’s personal project ‘Everyone Deserves a Portrait’ reflects the heart of why he paints; the desire to capture the faces of ordinary people with extraordinary stories to tell

Natural expression and alternating stylistic approaches depending on each subject, characterize Welch’s portraits which consistently present a “warts and all” image. “My engine is always running,” he says. “I ask my subjects to tell me the essence of their personality.”

 

Featured Artists

Raquel Clarke

Raquel Clarke

Esther Dexter

Esther Dexter

Kelvin McMillan

Kelvin McMillan

:Jane-Louise: Kellahan.

:Jane-Louise: Kellahan.