Rap star inspires young artist to ILT awards win

Award winner . . . Menzies College pupil Ralph Raluto holds the painting which won the under-18 category at the Invercargill Licensing Trust Art Awards recently. PHOTO: SANDY EGGLESTON

A painting inspired by an African American rap artist has won a Menzies College pupil a prize in the Invercargill Licensing Trust Art Awards.

Ralph Raluto (16) entered The Culture and won the under-18 category.

The prize was $500.

Rap artist Kendrick Lamar had a tough upbringing on the streets of Compton in Los Angeles but through hard work had made something of his life, Ralph said.

“I thought that was very inspiring.

“Where he is from, he is the only one who made it out.”

The year 12 pupil also admired Lamar’s humility and enjoyed listening to his music.

Some of the elements of the painting were a portrait of Lamar and lyrics from a poem and songs.

He used black acrylic paint for the work.

“I used water to change the gradient of the shades.

“It’s something I’ve picked up on and really enjoy how it works. I found I was pretty good at it.”

Last year when he was studying NCEA level one art he achieved an excellence endorsement.

He would like to make a living out of his art one day, he said.

Ralph and his family came to live in New Zealand about five years ago from the Philippines.

Art teacher Bianca Gibbs said it was exciting Ralph had won the ILT award.

‘‘It signals him as being and up-and-coming young artist.’’

Ralph was developing his own style of painting which was based on diluting paint.

‘‘He has a really unique style of working which he’s honed right from the very start of year 11… and he’s really excelled with it.’’

The end result was something more like a watercolour and ink combination.

“That is probably what makes Ralph’s style a little bit unusual.’’

Ralph had also painted a mural of former Filipino professional boxer Manny Pacquiao, which was hung on a corridor wall.

‘‘We have a really strong body of Filipino students here at Menzies and he wanted to have something around the school that was reflecting their culture.’’