A Gwynneville artist has had a night to remember after he and his unique dot-painted surfboard rubbed shoulders with Thor hunk Chris Hemsworth.
Zac Bennett-Brook watched one of his works go under the hammer for $16,000 on Thursday night at a swanky Sydney cocktail party hosted by TAG Heuer.
The luxury Swiss watchmaker was in Sydney to announce Hemsworth as its new ambassador.
A company representative had earlier commissioned a work from Bennett-Brook to be auctioned on the night.
“There was about eight people bidding on it,” Mr Bennett-Brook told the Mercury.
“It was great, but I didn’t see who it went to. I asked [Hemsworth] and he didn’t know.
“We got to have a chat – he’s a nice guy.”
Proceeds of the auction went to Australian Childhood foundation, which is also fronted by Hemsworth.
Inspired by his Aboriginal heritage and his love of the surf, Bennett-Brook takes broken surfboards and patches them back together to create a Dreamtime canvas.
His traditional dot painting style, and his decision to pursue his art, has taken off in consultation with various Aboriginal elders.
The 25-year-old studied teaching at university but, in a moved that caused some controversy within his family – turned his back on a full-time job as a PE teacher in order to pursue his art dreams.
He said his choice had the support of his grandmother and a trusted elder, Uncle Vic Chapman of Woonona.
“He said, go for it, young fella’,” Bennett-Brook said
“Keep our culture alive.”
The watchmaker was very specific about how the work should look, to the point that the cool-headed Bennett-Brook walked away from the commission at one point.
He was soon reinstated, with a freer reign.
“We worked it out, and then I found out who it was for,” Bennett-Brook said.
The artist has sold about 30 of the boards after three years in the industry.
“Demand for [Aboriginal art] seems to fluctuate,” he said.
“At the moment it’s been pretty good.”