Street artist bring­ing colour to Kaiko¯ura


Street art has heart, es­pe­cially from the spray cans of Mr G.

Gra­ham Hoete, aka Mr G, wasn’t re­veal­ing what his mas­sive mu­ral com­mis­sioned for Kaiko¯ura would be. But it would be in­flu­enced by the peo­ple who see it ev­ery day.

‘‘My wife [Mil­lie] and I went there a week ago and met with iwi, school kids, the coun­cil - the mu­ral will be based on their feed­back,’’ Hoete said.

‘‘It will be up­lift­ing, en­cour­ag­ing. It’s com­ing straight from the lo­cals, and what bet­ter source to go with?’’

Sud­denly in the in­ter­na­tional spot­light last year with a huge mu­ral of NBA su­per­star and fel­low Kiwi Steven Adams in Ok­la­homa City and an­other of mu­si­cian Prince in Min­nesota, Hoete is con­tribut­ing to Kaik­oura’s earth­quake re­cov­ery with a vast splash of his pho­to­re­al­ist style.

His can­vases are var­ied, from sheds to wa­ter tanks, cliff faces and the sides of down­town build­ings.

The venues are equally var­ied as Hoete is now com­mis­sioned to tell his sto­ries on agri­cul­tural sup­plier Farm­lands’ build­ings across the coun­try - tak­ing his art to the re­gional heart­land.

Kaik­oura’s will be 15 me­tres long by three me­tres high com­pleted in Hoete’s spray paints and in­flu­enced by the great por­trait artists - Leonardo da Vinci, JeanAu­guste-Do­minique In­gres, Goldie.

Orig­i­nally from Ngatai Rangi- nui iwi at Tau­ranga, Hoete said it was the Old Masters who in­flu­enced his work more than pop­u­lar graf­fiti artists like Banksy.

‘‘I’m self-taught. I’m 39 now and I’ve been draw­ing and paint­ing since I was a four-year-old.

‘‘My back­ground is in draw­ing and acrylic por­trai­ture. My largescale work is done with spray paint and it’s ro­bust and durable.

‘‘It needs to be be­cause it’s ex­posed to the el­e­ments. It has to with­stand all that and still keep the vi­brancy and colours,’’ Hoete said.

‘‘My favourite artists are the old-school Masters, solid por­trai­ture. Those in­flu­ences shine through in my work, those styles.’’

Hoete said he en­joyed hav­ing lo­cal peo­ple watch when he’s work­ing.

‘‘The great thing with this Farm­lands project is not just paint­ing the mu­rals but be­ing able to con­nect face-to-face with the com­mu­nity. Both Mil­lie and me have a back­ground in com­mu­nity work with young peo­ple. It’s a bit of a win-win for both of us.’’

With no chil­dren, the cou­ple is trav­el­ling the coun­try on the project ‘‘with just a fur baby’’, a 60kg Amer­i­can bull­dog.

‘‘The de­sign at Kaiko¯ura is ex­cit­ing. It will re­flect what the lo­cal peo­ple have told us about what’s hap­pened there in the past year.

‘‘This project takes us around small town New Zealand and we love it, telling the sto­ries and con­nect­ing with the peo­ple. They bring us a pun­net of fish or a feed of mus­sels, just to say thanks.’’

Hoete said his cal­en­dar was quite full with big projects, but he’d love to work on the vast grey walls of Marl­bor­ough’s ASB Theatre ‘‘pro­vided we can come up with the right por­trait for it’’.

The Kaiko¯ura paint­ing started at Farm­lands on Mon­day and the un­veil­ing is on Satur­day at 11.30 with a free lunch and an at­tempt at the town’s big­gest ever selfie.


Gra­ham Hoete spray paint­ing a huge mu­ral por­trait of Ki­wis coach David Kid­well ear­lier this year. ‘Mr G’ Hoete is paint­ing at Kaiko¯ura this week.

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