Wellington artist Francis Salole aims for 1m artworks in 2017

A Wellington man has a busy year ahead as he aims to create one million artworks by the end of 2017.

Paekakariki artist and psychiatric nurse Francis Salole was up early on January 1 to start his "mental health artventure" - making about one print every eight seconds in his working day.

"I start by choosing 3 stamps, I then mix colours for each stamp based on the paper colour. The stamps sit face down on paint soaked sponges. I then start printing and go at 480 mph (masterpieces per hour) for four two-hour runs," he says.


He's selling the pop art-style prints for $1, and donating a quarter of the proceeds to a storytelling project with the Mental Health Foundation to help raise mental health awareness.

"By year's end, I will have created eight tonnes of art," Mr Salole says.

"It's a good feeling to know that the sale of every fourth painting will go to creating stories about mental health. As a psych nurse I've been in this privileged position where I've listened intimately to these stories.

"I want to help debunk the myths about mental illness by getting real people's stories out there." 

His production goal is 3,850 prints each day, making 19,230 a week, for a year.

Mental health is a significant issue for New Zealand artists and musicians.

In July 2016 the New Zealand Music Foundation conducted the Music Community Wellbeing Survey, which found more than a third of the Kiwi musicians surveyed had been diagnosed with a mental health disorder.

"The project is a lot of things tied in together: part art, part therapy, part social entrepreneurship, part local employment scheme, part 'make a buck or two for my family'," says Mr Salole.

"I hope the art will resonate with lots of different communities, from mental health workers and patients to art appreciators and collectors."