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This is the 12th Graffiato: Taupō Street Art Festival, the first and longest running of its kind in New Zealand. The festival sees Taupō town centre walls transformed into incredible works of art over Labour Weekend. Over 85 murals have been painted by some of the best local, national, and international street artists.
‘This year sees 13 artists from various backgrounds attending the festival and we couldn’t be more excited to see what they will create’ says Festival Coordinator, Alice Thompson. “What I love about Graffiato, is that the artists and curator are always pushing the boundaries. As well as expanding our collection of wall murals, visitors will also be able to watch the transformation of a yacht and a permanent ground mural of a Māori weave pattern.”
Cut Collective formed in the early 2000’s, bringing a group of like-minded artists together to work on collaborative based projects, murals and exhibitions. With all members active in the Auckland street art scene, the collective began to gain recognition for their public works that typically employed spray paint and hand cut stencils.
Their approach has rejected the conventional pathways artists were typically required to tread and prioritised the production and presentation of artwork that was accessible for all. In addition to a focus on public space, the artists seek to remove the barriers that stand in the way for much of the public to have encounters with art.
Claudine Mailei was born in Aotearoa but is of Cook Island, Tahitian and Samoan descent. She attended Media Design School in Tāmaki Makaurau (Auckland) and currently lives and works in Glen Innes. Claudine is known for her ability to depict meaningful topics and genres through a delightful, imaginative and almost Disney-like lens. Her past exhibitions and festivals include the 2019 Bradley Lane Project and the Shop Front Series - Expectations vs Reality.
Elliot Francis Stewart is an Auckland based comic artist and illustrator. A natural born talent with extraordinary photographic memory, his works range from large scale muralism spanning nine story high buildings to intricate details on an A5 sheet of paper. He is one of Aotearoa’s most significant artists from the Urban Contemporary art world with roots in graffiti via RFC and TMD crews.
A Taupō local, this is Phil’s first Graffiato: Taupō Street Art Festival. He started his varied career in Taupō as a radio announcer, became a TVNZ presentation director and spent 5 years teaching English in Japan. His passion has always been illustration, graphic design and CGI though. His work includes promotional signage, set design for local theatre and animated videos for the tourism sector - all displaying his imaginative eye and intricate attention to detail.
Ross has been working as an artist focused on public space for twenty years. His mural practice is informed by a longtime affection for type and the specific, explicit and communicative quality of text. His current work heads in the other direction, employing heavily abstracted compositions to create works that obscure text and legible letter forms. The work is informed by a desire to avoid contributing further noise to public discourse that is becoming factionalised, overly simplistic and disingenuous. Ross' work suggests that there is a level of complexity around our current social and cultural issues and perhaps we all need to look and think a bit harder to find our way through.
Margarita is a multidisciplinary artist who predominately works with a brush. A focus on portraiture has become an integral part of her current practice. Through it she seeks to communicate the unspoken, intangible, and unseen qualities that exist around her subjects. Revealing more about the manner in which they relate to the world and the nature of a nuanced human experience than what a purely observational depiction might provide.
Sean is an artist of Samoan/NZ European descent with an Honours degree in Visual Arts. From studying, Sean has grown into new ways of creating artworks from clothing prints, murals, paintings, digital designs, sculpture, and moulding. Colour and shapes have been the forefront of Sean's growth with his artworks. He has used different styles to gain an understanding of how colours create shapes, shapes create spaces and spaces create depth within each piece.
All colours used are a fragment of growth in their own abstract form, not only bringing a joy when experiencing the colours in person but also how they bring about change within each individual.
Xoë Hall (Kāi tahu) is a Wellington region-based painter of Māori, Danish, Irish and English descent. Xoë exhibits her paintings world-wide. She has decorated many streets and buildings of Aotearoa with her delightfully subversive murals. Legends, idols and worlds collide to create the unique hybrid which is Xoë's work.
Chris is an Auckland based tattoo artist with over 14 years’ experience. He owns his own studio, CAIN, which he opened with his brother in 2015. As well as tattooing, Chris is an avid musician and enjoys painting, mainly oil on canvas. He recently finished his first commissioned mural in his local suburb of Avondale. This experience has prompted him to further explore his place in the world of large-scale muralism.
Independent street artist Dside, has adorned walls throughout New Zealand and the world since 2015. From New Plymouth and Auckland, to San Francisco and Tijuana, Dside’s dedication to bringing awareness to environmental issues continues to engage global audiences. His fun animal characters carry a more serious message that addresses animal extinction and plastic pollution at the hands of humanity and in 2018, he had his first exhibition at the McKlouski and Bouw gallery in Te Aro with ‘Extincted’.
Tāne Lawless of Tainui and Te Arawa waka is a Taupō local with roots at Lake Rotoiti. Although he has never pursued art professionally, it has always been a passion of his. He is a self-taught screen printer and has created his own clothing brand, Flawless Clothing Ltd. This will be Tāne’s seventh time taking part in the Graffiato: Taupō Street Art Festival. His previous Graffiato pieces have often featured large scale native birds. His contribution to this year’s festival is particularly close to his heart as it ties into his whakapapa and manawhenua.