Murals bring colour to the railway line
TRAIN passengers are on track for a more visually stimulating ride following a KiwiRail initiative to have rail corridors enhanced by aerosol artist Owen Dippie.
The state-owned enterprise commissioned Mr Dippie to paint three railside murals across Auckland.
The first mural popped up late last year just along from Morningside Station.
It pays homage to the classic 1950s painting The Chinese Girl by Vladimir Tretchikoff.
Mr Dippie says he has always wanted to reinterpret the image with spraypaint, so he teamed up with wood carver Hipara August to create something with an Aotearoa edge.
‘‘We always admired the original artist and we thought it would hit home with a lot of New Zealanders who throughout the 1970s had it hanging on their wall,’’ the Mt Maunganui artist says.
The second mural found a home in February on Bruce McLaren Rd, Henderson.
Mr Dippie says he decided to paint the Formula One legend and then went on a scout for a good spot.
‘‘It was weird because I had found the perfect wall for it and then I went to write down the name of the road and it was Bruce McLaren Rd,’’ he says.
The photo-realistic portrait shows a side of McLaren not often depicted.
‘‘Most images have his helmet, but I thought it would be good to capture a classic picture of the man himself.’’
Rail corridor upkeep coordinator Gill Evans says the project aims to deter taggers from accessing the dangerous rail corridor, while beautifying the area.
Ms Evans says the company is thrilled with the works that celebrate different genres, cultures and individuals.
‘‘Owen relates his artwork directly to the community around him and as a result that artwork is respected by that community,’’ she says.
Mr Dippie visited Auckland last week to find the location for his third mural in South Auckland.
Blue lady: Artists Owen Dippie and Hipara August put the finishing touches on their railside mural in Morningside.
Racecar legend: An image of Bruce McLaren graces the side of a building on Bruce McLaren Rd, Henderson.