William (Bill) Hammond
Born in Christchurch in 1947 and continuing to live in the region, Hammond has become a celebrated and enigmatic exponent of what is bizarre, surreal and quirky in New Zealand art. Appropriately, he began life as a toy-maker before taking up oil painting in 1981 and in the last nineteen years he has firmly embedded himself into the art history of this country.
Hammond and his maverick visions have been described as "Lyttelton's answer to Hieronymous Bosch" and "Raymond Ching on hallucinogens". Combining the popular art forms of the satirical cartoon with the distortion and exaggeration of de Chirico and surrealism, Hammond has created his own particular means of communicating using art as his medium.
Hammond has titillated and bemused the New Zealand art scene with his lurching and jittery images for several years, however more recently his work has become less frenetically spooky and he has incorporated a sense of elegance and delicacy into his sardonic history paintings and black comedies.
Because of, or despite, his weird perceptions and portrayals of life, people and places, Hammond has become one of New Zealand's most important and original artists.