Gus Hunter Inducted into Massey's Creative Arts Hall of Fame
Weta Workshop is incredibly proud to congratulate one of our longest-serving crew members, senior concept designer Gus Hunter, on his induction into Massey University's College of Creative Arts' Hall of Fame. The Hall of Fame recognises alumni who have made significant contributions to New Zealand’s economy, reputation and identity through the arts.
Gus is in good company. This year’s esteemed inductees include jazz musician Paul Dyne; artist and educator Kura Te Waru Rewiri; impressionist artist Maud Sherwood; and engraver and muralist E. Mervyn Taylor. Previous inductees include household names Kate Sylvester, Len Lye, and our very own Richard Taylor.
“There would be very few more deserving of this accolade. Gus Hunter is a unique and extraordinary artist working in the world’s creative industries. Due to Gus’ quiet demeanour and humble ways, few would know or fully appreciate the talent that Gus harbours in his mind and hands.
Gus has been central to conceptualising multiple blockbuster movies, TV series, digital games and experiential endeavours. He has worked for clients from every corner of the world and is responsible for having contributed significantly to the way that popular culture is viewed today. I would estimate that Gus’ work has been seen by over 3-4 billion people worldwide.
For me though, Gus is a friend, a great collaborator and simply a decent chap – where nothing is too much trouble, any creative challenge is there to be delivered, and all results will always exceed any expectation.
Gus is an extraordinary talent, a valued member of our Weta Workshop team, a Wellingtonian, a New Zealander, and a great person to be recognised in the Massey College of Creative Arts’ Hall of Fame.”
-Weta Workshop CEO & Co-founder, Richard Taylor
Gus has been with Weta Workshop since 2000, working as a digital artist and senior concept designer on The Lord of the Rings. Since then, he has contributed beautiful work to a wide range of films, exhibitions, and other creative projects, including King Kong, Dracula Untold, Avatar, The Chronicles of Narnia, and Gallipoli: The scale of our war at New Zealand's national museum, Te Papa.
Gus’ friends and colleagues are over the moon about the news – they have some wonderful thoughts to share. We’ve compiled their messages along with just a few examples of Gus’ incredible, and expansive, body of work.
"You wouldn't guess from his humble and relaxed nature that Gus is one of the top Concept Artists on the planet, and he would never tell you or admit that himself :) Gus is an incredible teacher and very generous with his time and knowledge, even under his own tight deadlines he will make time to help out the other members of the team. I have worked with him for the best part of a decade, a large amount of my own artistic growth has been thanks to him and he still continues to amaze me with his outstanding artwork and designs. He is a super lovely guy and I am very glad to know him."
-Adam Anderson – Concept Designer, Weta Workshop
"It is always an inspiration working with Gus – he has the ability to take the tiniest granule of an idea and takes it to a place that always astounds. Some of the most exciting moments in a day working at Weta Workshop’s design studio is wondering what he might come up with next. And when you see where he takes something he always exceeds your expectations.
For someone who creates the most epic battles and emotional, gripping moments he is also one of the most sweet, kind and gentle souls that I have ever come across and this makes the impact and his ability all the more incredible."
-Tasha Guillot – Design Studio Project Manager, Weta Workshop
"Gus is the gold standard at Weta Workshop. His artwork is the stuff that stands out every time - on a wall of incredible artwork from all the designers at Weta, his is the stuff that pops out, screaming with vast energy and epic intensity. It's the work that every other artist at Weta aspires to. And I have to say this, because he never will - he's the most ridiculously unassuming and humble guy I've ever met. Gus is the man."
-Greg Broadmore – Game Director, Magic Leap, Weta Workshop
“Congratulations Gus, you are not only one of the most talented artists I know but are also the most humble and generous person I have had the pleasure to work with. Your ability to consistently generate vast amounts of stunning work is truly remarkable and sets you apart from your peers while justifying this well-deserved accolade.
I’m very proud of you mate. Well done Gus, well done indeed!”
-Jeremy Bennett – Valve Software, Seattle, USA
"His King Kong concept work was absolutely AWESOME !!!!"
-Mark Fry – Weta Cave Team
"If his incredible talent wasn’t enough, his humility, openness to learning, professionalism and enduring good nature make him an absolute pleasure to work with and an inspiration, though he’d be embarrassed if you said it. He absolutely deserves any success that comes his way!"
-Meg McMahon – Design Studio Assistant Manager, Weta Workshop
"For the 9 years that I have been working here in various roles I have been constantly amazed by Gus’ work. In my early days I would go to Gus’ desk from time to time and ask him to show me what he was working on. I’d ooooh and arrrhhhh at whatever incredible piece of work he had put together and ask him “how the hell do you do that?!” He’d answer in his quiet, unassuming way that he just started with an idea and kept on going."
-Olivia Harris – HR Advisor, Weta Workshop
“I’m not easily distracted by art, but I often lose myself in a Gus Hunter landscape and awake with a jolt without realising time has passed. I think it could be magic.”
-Magnus Hjert – Online Retail & Systems Manager, Weta Workshop
"You don't meet many people like Gus. His colossal talent and skill are in such contrast to his humble, understated nature. Seriously, it's ridiculous how diametrically opposed his talent to ego ratio is, even his name only has 3 letters! That name has become a verb round here actually. When I struggle with another wonky illustration the advice is always "you need to Gus up that character a bit" or "dude unless you can Gus the heck out of that whole area you're gonna be back on the dole queue". I get that one a lot actually.
Gus' artistic skills and prolific output aside, one can not discuss the man without addressing his true legacy: his contributions in the field of moustache growing. As I continue to learn from him as an artist I know I shall never achieve his masterful understanding of composition and light, but as a talented and dedicated apprentice in the discipline of not shaving one's upper lip I am confident that some day the student shall become the master."
-Christian Pearce – Senior Concept Artist, Weta Workshop
"Gus is an extraordinary person, he has immense artistic talents, he shares his skills back in the Islands every year for future generations to learn from. He has a great sense of humour & loves his rugby. We are grateful he didn’t join the army like the majority of his brothers."
-Jon Ewen – Purchasing Officer, Weta Workshop
You can find out more about Massey’s College of Creative Arts’ Hall of Fame here, or just keep scrolling to enjoy some of Gus' incredible work and photos from the evening.