Orewa artist Olivia Bezett, 22, says she was stunned beyond belief to see one of her works sell for $26,000 at a recent charity auction.
Olivia became a full-time artist on leaving school five years ago (HM September 14, 2016) and until last month’s auction the highest price paid for one of her original works was $4200.
She is known for whimsical surrealist works of animals, in coloured pencil.
She said it was easy to say yes when KidsCan founder Julie Chapman, who had seen her work online, asked her to donate a piece to support her new project – a Pet Refuge. The refuge will care for the pets of women escaping domestic violence.
Olivia’s work shows the kinds of pets that will be cared for at the new refuge. She says the auction, on May 20, went by in a bit of a blur.
“The auction was terrifying,” she says. “I was afraid it wasn’t going to reach the reserve, which at $5000 was quite high. When it went past $10,000 my mouth dropped open in shock. My father is an art dealer and I grew up going to auctions and seeing that excitement as the prices went up. I never thought it would happen to me.”
Julie Chapman was standing at Olivia’s side. “She was gobsmacked, and so was I,” Julie says. “Her contribution to Pet Refuge has been immense.”
The work was the biggest seller at the auction by far. It went to John Elstob who says that it will hang in pride of place in his home. He has commissioned further work from Olivia.