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.