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Established New Zealand artists Gina Kiel, Xoë Hall, Gwil, Erin Forsyth and Yelz are among the headline artists attending the festival in October.
Seven of the 11 artists in this year’s lineup have attended Graffiato in the past, and all bring a unique style of muralism.
“When Graffiato first started in 2011, artists were mostly from graffiti and street art backgrounds. These days it’s much more diverse with illustration, typography, tattooing, calligraphy and studio painting all represented on our walls” says festival curator Ross Liew.
This year though new-comer REKS will bring the festival full circle back to its graffiti roots.
“I'm excited by the prospect of having that aesthetic represented after a few years of it being absent” says Ross.
Being mindful of the environment is also a core focus for this year’s festival, with festival event organisers Towncentre Taupo, continuing to improve their sustainability practices.
“We’ve made great progress reducing our environmental impact over the years and plan to improve each year,” says festival coordinator Alice Thompson.
“We are aiming to be a zero-waste event by 2020” says Alice.
Some of the initiatives this year include a roller and paintbrush cleaning station so that the artists can reuse their equipment as many times as possible, and all drop cloths being reused from previous years. All aerosol cans will be returned to a specialist recycling facility in Auckland at the end of the festival.
Alice Thompson: “Last year we estimate that we avoided 120 disposable coffee cups and 150 plastic water bottles from going to landfill by using reusable coffee cups and water bottles for all artists and volunteers.”
This year, Drive EV in Taupo have sponsored the festival by providing an electric vehicle to use during the event to lower the carbon footprint and Resene will be providing a large quantity of recycled paint.
From Saturday morning, visitors will have the opportunity to watch artists at work as they create their large-scale artworks over the long weekend.
“There’s an awesome atmosphere around the town centre during Graffiato festival weekend – it’s a great opportunity for visitors and locals to witness the murals come to life and engage with the artists as they work” says Alice.
One of the great benefits of Graffiato is that the artworks are on display all year round for everyone to see, regardless if they are in Taupo over Labour Weekend.
“The collection of murals in Taupo really does provide you with the broadest look at mural art within the country, while bringing large-scale vibrancy and wonder to our region. Our laneways are becoming destinations themselves due to the number of quality artworks on display” says Destination Great Lake Taupo Marketing Manager, Anna McLaren.
A comprehensive Graffiato: Taupo Street Art Festival Walking Map highlights a selection of Graffiato’s ever-expanding portfolio of over 85 murals.
Pick up a copy at the i-SITE or download here and wander off the main streets into hidden laneways and discover this rich collection of artworks for yourself.
This year’s Graffiato: Taupo Street Art Festival sponsors are Taupo District Creative Communities NZ, Events Capital - Taupo District Council, Destination Great Lake Taupo, Towncentre Taupo, Taupo Access Hire, Resene and DriveEV.
Promotional video for Graffiato: Taupo Street Art Festival 2019 produced by Birdhouse Media.
For more information and event details go to Graffiato: Taupo Street Art.
Tāne is a Taupo local, and this will be his fourth time at Graffiato. Tāne currently works as a mechanic and does screen printing in his spare time. He draws inspiration from graffiti, hip-hop, wildlife and history and is passionate about raising awareness through his art.
REKS comes from a graffiti background and a senior member of the Kākano Youth Arts Collective in West Auckland. This is a unique visual arts initiative for young artists aged between 12 and 20 years old, based at Corban Estate Arts Centre. He has also just had his debut solo exhibition titled END OF THE LINE in Auckland.
Larissa McMillan is another new face to Graffiato, though she is no stranger to mural art with her unique calligraphy skills, and a desire to combine her passions of visual art and communications taking her from city streets to gallery walls, and everything in between.
Gina Kiel is an award-winning illustrator who can be found exhibiting at group shows around the world, creating at her home studio for clients locally and internationally, tattooing and painting impressive psychedelic murals that explore ideas of life, death, spirituality and pop culture.
Xoë is a multimedia painter and illustrator who exhibits her creations regularly in New Zealand and overseas. Xoë has a passion for large scale painting, intricate details, experimenting with new materials and collaborating with other artists. As part of the TeacherTalk team, she creates learning resources for Early Childhood Education teachers.
Xoë Hall and Gina Kiel have both been to Graffiato before though this year they will be collaborating on a wall together. They have two very distinct styles, which will combine to deliver a fun and creative mural.
Yelz has been part of the wall painting community for many years but has only attended Graffiato once before. This year he has asked for a big wall which has been delivered. “I would expect he will give us something pretty spectacular” says Festival Curator Ross Liew.
This will be Gwil’s second time at Graffiato. Working as a graphic designer by day, Gwils murals are commonly recognised by hard edged lines and the whimsical nature of his illustration style. He enjoys painting animals and plant life and will be painting with a brush and roller at Graffiato.
First time at Graffiato. Paul works in a range of mediums, from spray paint to watercolour. Paul is famous for painting over 50 utility boxes around the country, several of which are in Taupo and Rotorua, as well as the Footrot Flats dog on a water tank and a tribute to the Christchurch mosque shooting victims.
First time at Graffiato. Pauly B was involved in the delivery of Boon Street Art Festival in Hamilton. Pauly creates works that uplift viewers and encourage them to reflect, painting stylized figurative murals that explore aspects of the human spirit and our relationship to each other and the natural world.
Ross is the curator of Graffiato: Taupō Street Art Festival having been involved since its origin in 2011. Ross is an art practitioner, advocate and curator with over 15 years’ experience in public art and a founding member of Cut Collective; an Auckland based art collective specialising in art led public projects and bespoke outcomes for commercial application – painting under the alias TrustMe.
The Graffiato: Taupo Street Art Festival brings together some of the country’s best street artists over Labour Weekend every year to transform the town’s walls. The first street art festival of its kind in New Zealand, Graffiato captures the diversity of mural painting practice in New Zealand, and what’s new and relevant in global urban culture. Graffiato's ever-expanding portfolio of over 85 murals brings transformation, wonder and vibrancy to the urban lane ways and streets they inhabit. Even locals continue to find surprises hidden away down these charming back alleys.