Len pursues passion
Monday, 3rd April, 2017
By Kara de Groot
A former Broken Hill boy has returned to the Silver City to pursue his dream of having his own art gallery.
Len Vodic left town for the South Australian School of Art more than 25 years ago, but in the past few years found the time was right to return.
“I grew up here, I worked as a diamond driller and worked on the mines and did my trade as a mechanic,” Len said.
“But I always painted, Clark Barrett at the Broken Hill High School was my first art teacher,” he said.
“I went off to art school, but during all that time I was away I’d often come up here for things like the art trail.”
Len said he always had the intention of moving back to Broken Hill, but things, including a new business and new relationships, kept him away.
“After a bit of a crisis I had a whole new start, so I thought now was the chance to come back here and open that gallery I’ve always wanted to do,” he said.
“I’d always looked at the Albert Woodroffe Gallery and thought it had a perfect position and wanted to set up something just like it, and while I was here one year there was a For Sale sign on the place and I just thought the planets are aligning so I bought it.”
Turning the Bromide Street building into a home gallery and workshop has taken him about two years, but Len said it was worth it to see his 25 year dream come true.
He said his connection to Broken Hill runs deep, and has a large influence on his art.
“Growing up here dad used to take us out bush in his 4WD all the time when we were kids, and I try and capture that stuff in my paintings,” Len said.
“I see beauty in some things a lot of people wouldn’t, so I try and capture that in a painting so people can see it from my perspective,” he said.
“People might see nothing in the land but I look and see something much greater and try and get that into the painting.”
The new Len Vodic Gallery will officially open next week, on Friday April 7 at 7pm.
Len will have his former art teacher Clark Barrett speak at the opening, and said he was pleased to be able to share that with his mentor.
He also said that he’d like to pass on that learning to others once he’s settled.
“As time progresses and I get a little more set up I want to start teaching art here,” Len said.
“I’d like to get to the point where I can run sculpture workshops too, maybe teach people to carve stone,” he said.
“It’s a gallery but I want it to become more of a drop in centre for creative people, I’d love to see down the track poets and writers come here and have poetry evenings in the gallery.”
The gallery has two main rooms, which currently host Len’s art, but he said he’d welcome other artists to feature their art in one of the rooms.
“I’d like to open up that second from for invited artists and get some interesting artists, even if they’re not necessarily local, to come have exhibitions here,” he said.
“It adds another element to the Broken Hill art scene, some fresh input to what’s already in town.”