17 May 2015

Auckland street art: All Fresco 2015

This time last year I blogged about Auckland’s vibrant street art festival, All Fresco 2014, a superb initiative by the K Road Business Association, which is working hard to cultivate the fringe culture and creativity that Auckland’s Karangahape Road is famous for. All Fresco’s aim is to inject colour into our streetscape and activate our shared spaces’, and for the last three years they have achieved that aim brilliantly, with artworks of vibrant colour and inventive design.

Unfortunately, my return to New Zealand was a couple of weeks too late to see the live events at All Fresco 2015 but, last week, I took myself on a photowalk to check out the ten new additions to Auckland’s inner-city’s street art. The new sites are marked on the map below – I highly recommend you check them out.

1. Askew One  
This massive explosion of colour adorns a wall of the Mercury Lane carpark, facing onto Canada Street and the motorway. Askew One’s expertise in graphic design and photography, in graffiti and in conventional painting has made him a leading exponent of street art in the Pacific region. The environmental and economic issues facing the smaller island nations within Oceania are important to Askew One and he tries to raise the profile of these issues in his artwork. 

2. Berst  
Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to photograph this artwork as it has been painted over due to a ‘miscommunication with the billboard company’, according to a Facebook post on the All Fresco page.

Twenty-nine-year-old Berst is a student at the University of Auckland, with a Masters degree in Education already under his belt and a PhD underway. According to the All Fresco publicity material his art ‘explores the abstraction of letter shapes through colour and large scale painting but he also creates illustrative works influenced by Maori mythology’. I wish I’d seen his creation.

3. Jon Drypnz  
As you can tell from my photo (at left), Jon’s artwork is a little difficult to see clearly, painted as it is on the back side of a K Road building, right next to the motorway and behind a building site, hence the wire netting. The artist has been painting exterior walls like this one for 10 years, and is greatly influenced by his surroundings and his past experiences.

4. Haunt One
This is a massive and wonderfully vivid piece of art (below, left), and Haunt One is a true local, having been brought up in a converted warehouse on K Road that had a perfect view of some of the rather eclectic local advertising signage. There is so much to see in this artwork – each time I look at it I see some new element and, apparently, this is a common theme with Haunt One’s landscapes. Those who are lucky enough to own his paintings continue to discover new details in them years after their initial purchase.

Not far from Haunt One’s work, on the rear of another tall building, down a driveway that runs off Pitt Street, is Jeremy Shirley’s stunning contribution to All Fresco 2015 (above, right). Shirley’s talents are many and varied: he has been employed as an art tutor in the Department of Corrections and as an exhibition team leader at Waikato Museum in Hamilton. He has been a full-time artist for more than 20 years, and particularly enjoys painting large-scale artworks in open-air sites like this one. I particularly like how well the colours and patterns of his work align with the design and colour of the building his art adorns.

6. Owen Dippie  
This has to be my favourite piece from these ten new All Fresco 2015 works. The realism of this large-scale painting is truly astonishing and it will come as no surprise, I’m sure, that Dippie’s art is internationally renowned. In Tauranga, where he lives, Owen has been commissioned to produce a series of 15 huge artworks to adorn the walls of his city – three have been finished, the fourth will soon be underway. I recommend you take a look at the gallery on his website.

7. Xoë Hall 
Xoë Hall’s work (below) is a vibrant and fun piece that seems truly representative of K Road culture. She has a love for the sparkle of glitter, of ‘pop-surreal idols, drop outs and dreamers’ and loves adorning walls with her glistening murals.

8. Cinzah   
Located on a road-side wall at the K Road end of Ponsonby Road and with a series of frequently occupied car parks in front of it, this work was difficult to photograph so I’m posting two photographs to try to make the details more clear. A versatile New Zealand-based artist, Cinzah ‘Seekayem’ Merkens has exhibited in many countries around the world, including North America and Mexico, Japan, South East Asia and Australasia, and uses his work to examine ‘the interrelationship between man and nature, duality, mythology and story telling’.

9. Tanja Jade   
Sadly, I also missed seeing Tanja Jade’s piece for All Fresco 2015, this time because the artist (also known as Misery) decided to paint over her work in order to paint something she thought would work better. Last year she joined with Tom Tom to paint a huge work, a series of four kids enjoying summer fun in the water that you can still see in Poynton Terrace and, if you follow my blog, you may remember that she featured in one of my pieces about the 2014 Whittaker’s Big Egg Hunt. She is truly a multi-talented artist.

10. Erin Forsyth, Component, Trustme, Gasp
This last work (below) was a group collaboration by Erin Forsyth (her illustrative work has graced the pages of such publications as Lurve, Pulp and Black magazines), by Trustme (as well as street art, Ross Liew’s creative efforts range from streetwear fashion to graphics, and his work has been exhibited in New York), by Gasp  (whose adolescent rebellion led him to graffiti art and, through meeting his fellow artists, into street art as a way to channel his creativity), and by Component (whose artistic mediums include stencil canvas work, prints and tshirts, as well as street art). What a talented tam!

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