In John Walsh's ethereal vistas and landscapes, lyrical and mythical characters populate a world imagined from the artist’s personal experiences. Primarily a self-taught painter, Walsh held his first solo exhibition at 40 years of age. His early work (created in down time between seasonal employment) consisted of small paintings on wash backgrounds—usually figurative, realist portraits of people he knew on New Zealand's eastern coast. Walsh went on to incorporate landscapes into his imagery, and has become known for his use of vibrant colors, particularly blues and greens, and bold, gestural brushwork. His decade as curator of Maori art at the National Gallery of New Zealand would inform his later work, increasingly focused on landscapes and myths derived from both indigenous Maori culture and European mythological traditions, depicting such protagonists as ancestral tiki, ancient gods, and mermen. By combining history with personal influences and contemporary incidents, Walsh presents a playful interpretation of the human experience.