Street artists add colour to K’ Rd

Auckland City Harbour News - - NEWS - By JESS LEE

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.

Photo: JESS LEE

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.

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