MEET Hugo van Dorsser

Hugo’s work aims to create an emotional response from the viewer
based on how they see it, through what is happening in their life.

Hugo van Dorsser is a self-taught painter and qualified graphic designer. One of Dunedin’s ‘new-breed’ artists, Hugo’s work has a unique and personal aesthetic. Each of Hugo’s works is his twisted take on a moment in time, and situational randomness.

He tells an entropic story of chaotic human nature, dystopian city environments and the struggle of mental illness. Hugo’s work has a protestant nature and aims to trigger a different emotional response that is situational to each viewer.

HvD working

Beyond his customary canvas and paper mediums, Hugo experiments applying his style to alternative surfaces, often to the extreme. These are not treated simply as another canvas; each work connects and merges with the chosen item to be done.

This extends Hugo’s ability to communicate by presenting whole-of-matter works.

Hipster boots

An embellished pair of second-hand Dr. Martens ‘Docs’ boots, take a swipe at the hipsters (et. al) who have made them the staple 1st World footwear throughout the world. So effective was his message the artwork name was changed to ‘Boots’ for an exhibition in a particularly hip city.

By painting a ballerina, the human body became the canvas, paving a new opportunity for protest and discussion.

Google didn’t have the answer (and…)

On the back Hugo’s painting is a reaction to recent gun ownership law changes in New Zealand and media reports of a 13-Year-old owning an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle. A ballerina’s near perfect human form dancing, emblazoned with a rifle; the very weapon that too often harms. This rifle morphs into the atrocious mental health problem New Zealand faces, and how doctors ‘fire’ pills at patients until something works, not caring about the consequences.

… Too many trucks

The front artwork talks about the worlds pollution problem. Lines of blue rubbish trucks merge split like a zip, with rubbish rupturing out of the stomach to portray the crap humans consume.

Lunch With Ghosts

The bonnet of the ‘000’ Rally Safety Car at the 2019 Otago Rally became Hugo’s channel for Lunch With Ghosts.

Depicting the conversation Hugo had when dining with Pablo Picasso & Jean-Michel Basquiat, two of his main influences, all on a car panel.

Plastic Dinner

A New Zealand made surfboard became the study of marine debris and its influence on sea life. As millions of tonnes of garbage enter our oceans each Year, Hugo focusses on one city influence, plastic bags and packaging.

Chaos and confusion

Hugo’s mural on the rear door of the Dunedin Musician’s Club shows the chaos and confusion on the streets. The squeezing nature of city living, twisted and jostling. The soothing hint of music calming the chaos is portrayed through colour.

Here it seen surrounded by James Buckner’s work, completed the same day, and Phlegm Art’s famous ‘Song Bird Pipe Organ’.


For an urban art bridge wall in Vogel Street Dunedin, he hands his community a bouquet of thanks, through the many passers-by while changing this tiresome structure into a significant art piece.


Scenes of music, a still life of bottles, and guitars. Admiration of a beautiful girl who wants to be a rockstar. This 6 String electric guitar shows Hugo’s connection with music, something that regularly influences his creativity. From local friends’ bands to Feel Good Music bringing back the Magic (sic),  viewers are given a chance to see that connection between Hugo, music and his art.