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Lineup announced for Graffiato: Taupo Street Art Festival 2021

Some of New Zealand’s best known artists will be joining us for our 11th annual Graffiato: Taupo Street Art Festival, to be held in Taupo’s town centre this Labour weekend, 23rd to 25th October 2021.

Masked up and ready to paint: The Mini Graffiato kicks off 23rd October 2021
Due to current Covid-19 travel restrictions (and a broken ankle) a few of the 2021 artists have had to cancel their trip to Taupo this Labour Weekend. However Dr Suits, Tāne Lawless, Gemini, Milarky and Bode, will still be creating amazing new artwork in our Taupō town centre.

The Cut Collective will be joining us while at the same time holding an exhibition at the Taupo Museum, Public Access 6. Other well-known artists include Xoë Hall, Milarky and Trustme, our former curator of 10 years, who returns as an artist. Trustme murals can be found all over Taupo. We also have Dr_Suits flying up from the South Island, who brings with him a wealth of knowledge and flair.

We’re thrilled that 8 out of 12 artists this year have attended previous festivals, which speaks volumes for Graffiato. It’s a really fun and vibrant festival.

From Saturday morning, visitors will have the opportunity to watch artists at work as they create their large-scale artworks within the Taupo town centre over the long weekend. The festival team have been purposeful about matching the right wall with the right artist to use each space within the town centre as a platform for their storytelling.

“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 Festival Coordinator, Alice Thompson.

Our 11th year sees a change in curator, Olivia Laita from Aotearoa Urban Arts Trust (AUAT). Olivia uses logic creatively and holistically to manage art projects and has been doing so for 10 years. Her CV includes project management of the Askew One ‘Wynyard Quarter Silos’, curator manager for all three ‘Post-Graffiti Pacific’ exhibitions in Auckland and Sydney and assistant manager for SWIDT’s award winning album ‘Stoneyhunga’. AUAT is a relatively new venture for Olivia and she hopes that through this vehicle and her new role as Graffiato curator, she will be able to add value to Aotearoa’s urban contemporary art community and its admirers.

Tāne Flawless

Tāne, of Tainui and Te Arawa waka. Local to Taupo and Lake Rotoiti.

Tāne has attended 6 previous Graffiato events. He has always loved art since he was a kid but never pursued it. What kept his art flowing was cutting stencils at 15, then self taught screen printing and over the years his part time Clothing brand has kept his passion for art alive. “Graffiato is always a fun interesting event to be involved with”.

Ross Liew

Ross has been working as an artist focussed on public space for twenty years. His mural practice is informed by a long-time affection for type and the specific, explicit and communicative quality of text. His current work heads in the other direction and employs 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 that exists around our current social and cultural issues and that perhaps we all need to look and think a bit harder to find our way through.

Margarita Vovona

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.


Milarky focuses within the realm of Nomadism and what he aligns as ’the Return to Nomadity’ of our species due to the misled ability to care for the Earth. Nomadism being a response to the environment, an adaption through a generationally founded ability to attune to nature, as opposed to our societies current mind set to tune the land to our desired ways. Recently finishing his Masters based on the field between Nomadism and Sedentarization, to decipher the position of a contemporary Nomad, and investigate the domination of current physical and philosophical borders and ‘mobility limitations’ on our species, and its Nomadistic tendencies..

Gemma Clough

A Taupo local designer, Gemma has volunteered at many Graffiato events, and is excited to participate in her first street art festival. Experienced in watercolours and digital art, she has gotten into more paint mediums in recent years, including spray paints. Gemma is inspired by astronomy and witchcraft, and loves combining these themes with portraits.

Elliot Francis Stewart

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 9 story’s high 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.

Nathan Ingram

Dr Suits, born Nathan Ingram, is an Ōtautahi-based artist whose work shifts between street and studio, exploring the potential of these distinct sites of creation and installation. With a background that spans fashion, graffiti, graphic design, street art and large-scale muralism, Dr Suits’ art constantly grapples with a deep-set interest in the outcomes of experimentation and repetition.

Rising to prominence with a series of graphic street paste-ups responding to post-quake Christchurch (most notably the 2012 ‘Band-Aid’ collaborations with his wife Jenna Ingram), since 2016, Dr Suits has explored the potential of abstraction as both a response to his surrounding environment and a deep fixation with process and material qualities. This transition away from more literal urban illustrations, playing out across a devastated landscape, to abstract forms that rely more on colour and form for their impact in some ways matches the evolution of the artist’s hometown as the recovery has progressed and shiny new buildings have emerged. No longer faced with the more obvious challenges of an immediately post-disaster city, instead the peculiarities of an urban setting are more nuanced, the realities of transience, change and contestation hidden behind shiny glass and washed concrete. Similarly, Dr Suits’ latest work is understated and layered. Although spending more time in his studio at Fiksate Gallery, a space he runs with his wife, Dr Suits still operates in the public realm (with mural and installation works), but more importantly, his work maintains an overt reference to the urban environment, both in form and material, from paper, concrete and glass, to echoes of the angular forms of street markings and dynamic sprays of graffiti.

Xoë Hall

Xoë Hall (Kāi tahu) is a painter based in the Wellington region. She is of Māori, Danish, Irish and English descent. Xoë exhibits her paintings worldwide and decorates 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.

Claudine Mailei

Claudine was born in Aotearoa (New Zealand) and attended Media Design School in Tāmaki Makaurau (Auckland). She currently lives and works in Glen Innes and is of Cook Island, Tahitian and Samoan descent. Claudine is known for her ability to depict meaningful topics/genres through a delightful, imaginative and almost- Disney-like lens.

Cut Collective

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.

As the collaboration grew so did the ambition and soon the Cut Collective were set up in their own studio space behind Auckland’s Karangahape Road.

The collective adopted an approach that rejected the conventional pathways that 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.

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