Street artists add colour to K’ Rd
Auckland’s most notorious strip is returning to its roots as the walls of K’ Rd are transformed into canvases for some of the country’s best street artists.
Nine of the street’s walls will be transformed by art crews over three days for the inaugural festival All Fresco running during the precinct’s First Thursdays arts event.
Event organiser Ross Liew hopes the artwork will remind Aucklanders of how K’ Rd once looked as it fights to retain ‘‘all that is good about grit and grime’’.
‘‘K’ Rd had lots of public murals. It’s been cleaned up for better or worse over the years and I think that having this really visible artwork is crucial to maintaining that tradition of K’ Rd,’’ he says.
Fresh from organising Taupo’s Graffiato street art event, Mr Liew says these festivals help to legitimise and progress street artists and their work.
He has handpicked some of New Zealand’s best known artists and allocated each with wallspace along the length of the street that he believes will best suit their talents.
Auckland is long overdue for a free street art event of this kind, he says.
‘‘If you have public artwork it demonstrates you have an engaged community of artists. Having that tangible evidence of that culture is really important to a place, especially like K’ Rd which is built on creative culture and alternative culture as well.’’
The festival’s organisers hope to build on this year’s event by working closely with the community and local businesses.
‘‘With something like this it really changes the landscape immediately and with a lot of impact. You have to respect that and people need to be eased into that sometimes.’’
Nigel ‘‘Dagar’’ Roberts is one artist who will be transforming a section of the street.
‘‘Recently I’ve found that Auckland has been quite grey, very grey, and it always sticks out when I see things on walls.’’
The central Auckland artist has been painting on walls since the late 1990s but since a run-in with the law in 2005 he has focused solely on legal street art.
His streetwriting work will focus on the idea of coming full circle – something which is significant for the K’ Rd precinct and himself, he says.
The festival is sponsored by the K’ Road Business Association which plans to develop a street art walk based on the finished works.
All Fresco runs from Friday to Sunday from 11am to 7pm.
A group exhibition featuring the event’s artists will show tomorrow at Method and Manners Gallery, 6 Upper Queen St, from 6pm to 9pm.
Maintaining tradition: Nine of New Zealand’s best street artists, including Nigel Roberts, left, and Ross Liew, will take part in the inaugural K’ Rd All Fresco street art festival.