"His paintings are like a vehicle for the imagination, a place the mind can rest or stray a while". (International Artists Magazine Dec 98) Ivan Clarke is an artist that needs no introduction to many. A painter recognised as one of New Zealand's foremost. He is well known for the powerful luminous quality of his landscapes. The range of artistic expression in his paintings extend from dramatic compositions of light and dark to subtle veils of atmosphere and colour harmonies. His subjects are varied from the grandeur of New Zealand's landscapes, to contemplative figurative studies. He is most known for his dramatic landscapes of the majestic mountains and rainforests of his homeland New Zealand. A second generation artist, Ivan started out as a commercial artist but transitioned into fine art. He has a strong international following and says he is inspired by a surprising mix from 19th century greats such as Claude Monet and Albert Bierstadt through to Chagell and even Dr Seuss. Ivan Clarke painting Marmalade Moutain His works are collected along with top New Zealand investment artists. But Ivan is also gaining a significant reputation for a quite new direction he is taking as the creator of The Lonely Dog concept. Working from his rural Queenstown studio Ivan recently unveiled the celebrated Lonely Dog series which is showcased in his central Queenstown gallery. Lonely Dog is a moving story of an orphan hound growing up in the whimsical world of Alveridgea in which cats and dogs co-habit side by side in a segregated society. "As the pup grows up so does the story building into a complex, sophisticated world with twists, metaphors and social parallels." The tale is inspired by Ivan's family pet daschund Arthur Snout and initially Ivan produced a limited edition collector's book of 300 copies called The Birth of a Legend which followed Lonely Dog's exploits in Port Alveridge. "The book explored outrageous notions and ideologies with a whole range of paranormal ideas you would expect to find around the next corner in downtown Port Alveridge," says Ivan. Paintings depicting Lonely Dog dressed in his trademark suit and wing-tipped shoes have become widely sought after as the Lonely Dog tale takes off. As a follow-up a new book has recently been produced called Alveridgea and the Legend of the Lonely Dog, a more detailed account of the young hound's life in which he eventually creates a name for himself as a legendary virtuoso rocker. It has attracted phenomenal interest, so much so that early preparations for a movie are underway. The Lonely Dog is a gripping story of a young dog's journey through life and Ivan says Port Alveridge is itself a real world in another time and another place. "Anyone can go there and your ticket is your imagination." As well as the books and impressionist paintings, life size figurines of Lonely Dog and other characters who live in Port Alveridge have been created by Richard Taylor of Weta Workshop. The internationally renowned New Zealand special effects company has won several Academy Awards, particularly for the Lord of the Rings movie trilogy. Richard Taylor is the co-director and founder of world-renowned special effects facility Weta Workshop. Taylor and the talented artists at Weta have gained professional recognition for their work, earning four BAFTAs© and five Academy Awards® for their film work. Some of their stand-out projects include the Lord of the Rings Trilogy of motion pictures, King Kong, Jane and the Dragon and many others. Richard, a talented sculptor, has worked with his team at Weta in conjunction with Ivan to produce an exquisite series of bronzes of Lonely Dog characters, including a life-size bronze of Lonely Dog himself. Weta have also created five museum quality full size display mannequins of Lonely Dog, Bronson, A.K Ruddegen, Kelzie and Celia.