A note from the editor: Last month, Si Omer emailed me and very politely noted how we don’t cover a lot of art in New Zealand or by New Zealanders on Vandalog. As part of an effort to correct that, I asked Si Omer to put together a post introducing me and the rest of the Vandalog community to what’s going on with New Zealand these days. Here is that post. Also, for more New Zealand street art and graffiti, Si Omer recommends checking out the Street Arse blog. – RJ Rushmore
New Zealand (NZ) situated in the South Pacific Ocean, next door to Australia and fitting into the US 36 times, New Zealand is definitely a small place but houses and is home to some seriously big talent.
New Zealand has turned out some amazing and dedicated innovators to the international graffiti and street art scene in the past 15 years. Being involved in the international community has provided a platform and vital inspiration for many artists who may at times feel isolated because of the country’s geography. It has also provided inspiration for the tight scene here in NZ and enabled many to be a part of one of this profound movement.
Thanks to the hard work and dedication of many artists (such as Askew and others of the TMD, The Most Dedicated) locally and internationally the general public’s perspective on graffiti and street art is changing, it is beginning to be accepted as relevant and significant art form. This fresh understanding of the importance of art on the street is being celebrated by the start-up of annual events and festivals all around the country, allowing established and emerging artists to showcase their work on a scale this country has never seen before.
Some of the most prominent events include ‘Rise Festival’(Christchurch),’Get up’ festival (New Plymouth), ‘Graffiato’ (Taupo) and ‘From the Ground Up’(Christchurch) many of which have started in the past 12 months.
In addition to showcasing national artists these events have also bought in a flood of outstanding renowned artists and interest from around the world, creating a positive influx of interest locally, opening the eyes of the public and business owners alike to the goodness street art can offer – which is great for the artists and the people who get to enjoy their pieces. Of course there are still some sceptics who prefer the underwhelming look of a grey wall but we can only hope they come to their senses with ongoing exposure!
Do not be fooled by the size of this scene, it really does have some heavy hitters, world renowned and up and coming when it comes to painting in the streets. The proof is definitely in the pudding, so here’s a selection of stuff that kiwis and adopted kiwis have been up to over the last six months or so.