Chaos of Calm – Joel Hart at QT Queenstown

Joel Hart’s captivating new body of work will be on show at Gallery 6 – the 24 hour gallery inside the stunning QT Queenstown. The gallery space, established on level six of the lakeside hotel, will host Hart’s newest series for six months from the 18th April. The Ōtautahi artist is excited to present Chaos of Calm, a suite of paintings that aim to capture “a moment in time where the boundaries between dreams and reality are blurred.” As snapshots of a thought or a dream, the pieces juxtapose Hart’s signature striking figurative imagery with abstracted aspects and suggestive forms that evoke an external manifestation of the character’s internal dialogues. Deploying a fragmented effect, where the surfaces are composed of smaller pieces fitted together into a patchwork, the works serve as a reflection of our complex multi-faceted identities and experiences. If you are in Queenstown, amke sure you head along to Gallery 6 and catch this alluring show…

Street Treats, Vol. 9

Ōtautahi is changing. This might sound obvious for a city that has literally faced a massive rebuild – of course it is changing. But, the change that feels most prevalent right now reflects a greater sense of control and order – the spaces of opportunity are dissipating, filling with shiny new buildings. Of course, this is inevitable, we like shiny things, generally. But it changes the way we think about possibility. New things are to be preserved and maintained, we seek the liminal spaces for exploration. This change makes Street Treats even more important – recognising the way street art adapts to new environments and responds to prevailing landscapes. Street art reminds us that there are alternatives, that there are comments, that there are possibilities. The streets speak…

Want to contribute to the next Street Treats volume? Email us your flicks at hello@watchthisspace.org.nz…

Showtime – STOKED 2024 at The Duke Festival of Surfing

The Duke Festival of Surfing has become a much-loved event in New Brighton. Amongst the celebration of surfing, the STOKED art exhibition is an anticipated part of the wider festival – showcasing an array of local talent, and creations that range from surf and skate-inspired, to abstractions and beyond. Over the years, a number of Watch This Space favourites have been included in the exhibition and the 2024 iteration continued that trend. Staged in the picturesque Carnaby Lane, STOKED 2024 presented a variety of styles and approaches and we captured some of our favourites…

If you have a show coming up – let us know! Email hello@watchthisspace.org.nz and tell us about it!

And That Was… March 2024

March is often a final flurry of activity before the weather slowly changes, sunlight lessens and opportunities for public projects get a little bit harder and people start to prefer the warnth and shelter of studios and indoor spaces. Despite this, we found a lot to like out there in Ōtautahi over the month of March and now it is our pleasure to share our finds! From small pleasures to collaborative productions and even an exhibition or two, here are some our favourite things…

A Tribute to Hamish Kilgour

I Go Side On at the Pūmanawa Gallery at The Arts Centre Te Matatiki Toi Ora provided a beautiful and poignant tribute to the life and art of Hamish Kilgour – one of Aotearoa’s most beloved musical figures (he founded The Clean alongside his brother David). The show, created by Paul Kean and Alec Bathgate, collected a range of works, including paintings, drawings, doodles and ephemera, all accompanied by recollections of encounters with Kilgour. The urgent creative drive and earnest personal narratives combined for a touching experience.

Riccarton Jam

The popular trackside spot on Riccarton Road received a freshen up with a jam by some of the city’s most respected graffiti artists past and present, including Ikarus, Lurq, Morks, Dcypher, Pest5, Post, Drows and Foul. With a few flashes of nostalgia (CatDog anyone?) and a heap of history, the wall is a testament to Christchurch graffiti…

Youth Art at the Climate Campus

The Climate Action Campus, located on the old Avonside Girls High School site, is quickly amassing a heap of striking art on its walls – from the Amaze-Ink project initiated by the Christchurch City Council’s Graffiti Projects Team, to a small collection of works by students – all with a focus on climate action. We have been lucky enough to help with the latter, and with support from Phantom Billstickers, we loved seeing the work “Stop Fish Fashion”, by Emily Brickwood, come to life!

STOKED – The Duke Festival of Surfing Art Exhibition

New Brighton’s annual Duke Festival of Surfing hosted STOKED – its companion art exhibition in March and some of our favourite artists were in on the action – including teethlikescrewdrivers, Dove, Nick Lowry, Dark Ballad and Bloom. With a variety of styles and good vibes, it was well worth the visit!

A Little Fix Up…

Ikarus’ Wish You Were Here, the lightbox installation for The Little Street Art Festival was given a spruce up in late March, thanks to a generous festival supporter, who kindly donated the replacement perspex frontage. Ultimately, these works are temporary, but it is always so touching that people want to help give them just a bit of a longer life – thank you!

These were our picks – what would you add? Let us know in the comments! And if you want to let us know about events or projects that we can spotlight on our blog – email us at hello@watchthisspace.org.nz!

Postcard from Sydney, Australia

Sydney is a big city. You can feel it when you arrive, and especially when you explore the central city. The buildings are impressive, the sprawl is wide and the energy is palpable. Sydney might not be held in the same regard as Melbourne in terms of street art reputation, but it undeniably still has a significant part in the history of Australian urban art culture. Earlier this year, we took a relaxing weekend in Sydney, exploring various parts of the city on foot and via train – taking in graffiti, murals, interventions and more. Below is a selection of some of our favourite finds, including some Fintan Magee, a brand new DANK (painted the first day we arrived at Pro Art Supplies), Thierry Noir and Jeremy Novy and a heap of local talent…

And That Was… February 2024

You might have noticed we have had a little break from the And That Was… series – don’t worry, it wasn’t for any other reason than the need for a well-earned rest after a busy 2023! We have been working into 2024 and some things just had to have a bit of a back seat (we are a small team after all!). We are stoked to welcome And That Was… back for 2024 – after all, it is our favourite way to celebrate all things street related – from street art big and small, graffiti, events, experiences and everything in between. So, let’s kick off the first And That Was… for 2024 with the following selections!

The Spiderverse appears in New Brighton

Let’s begin with a FSPPT, a THWAP, a KAPOW and THWIP! The revolving rear wall of the old Couplands Building in New Brighton got a Summer make-over with this spectacular production by DTR crew members Ikarus, Dcypher and the crew’s newest member Drows. With traditional pieces in gold, purples and pinks by Ikarus (L) and Drows (R), the wall was built around the Spiderman Spiderverse imagery by Dcypher – unified by a smoky, atmospheric backdrop, blocks of comic book panel details and shattered stone. This is most definitely NOT the Madame Web of graffiti productions.

Farewell to a few old friends…

While we normally celebrate the new and fresh, it is also worth acknowledging those things we have seen disappear – sometimes painfully in full view. February saw the demolition of a number of familiar murals across central Otautahi – FinDAC’s Kaitiaki and TELMO MIEL’s Hector’s Dive, both on the exterior of the Hereford Street YMCA building, and Jacob Yikes’ Blue painting on the carpark at the rear of the old Rydges Hotel building overlooking Cathedral Square. Of course, losing such works is inevitable, but still sad – the important thing is to ensure we see new works appear in their place…

A tribute to Mahsa Amini

Completed in February, Kophie Su’a-Hulsbosch’s mural depicting Iranian woman Mahsa Amini has added a powerful message to the hoarding wall outside the Arts Centre on Worcester Boulevard. With the portrait centred in front of poppy flowers (symbolic of matyrdom and Iran) and the words Woman, Life and Freedom either side, the work is pays tribute to Amini, who lost her life while detained by Iranian police for not wearing a hijab in public. The mural was produced with Dr Hero Modares of the Kia Ora Academy and members of the local Iranian community, with support from the Christchurch City Council and ChristchurchNZ.

BOXed Quarter action…

We were stoked to see a selection of talented artists add some new pieces to the panels of St Asaph Street’s BOXed Quarter in February. Nick Lowry, Dcypher, Masked Artist, Morks, Dove, Hambone and PK all created works on the 3m x 3m square surfaces, bringing a fresh vibe to an area filled with impressive works! To check out more of the creations, get down to the BOXed Quarter and wander through – just a warning though, you will probably want to grab a bite to eat from one (or more) of the awesome eateries inside… (Image: Hambone (bottom) and Morks (top) at the BOXed Quarter)

Jen_Heads’ Bisan Owda

The city has been awash with art and messages calling for ceasefire in Gaza – illustrating the important role of public space to share and confront social issues – in this case, ensuring the world does not forget about the harrowing and horrific situation in Palestine. One of the most striking pieces is Jen_Head’s portrait paste-up of Palestinian journalist and filmmaker Bisan Owda reporting from Gaza, accompanied by images of her social media posts from the ground, a reminder of the realities of the situation…

And that’s our list for February – what would you add? Let us know…

The Little Street Art Festival – A Little Recap

After several years of developing, planning and piecing together the logistics, Watch This Space was proud to finally bring the Little Street Art Festival to life in Otautahi Christchurch in late 2023!

The festival was conceived as a platform for alternative approaches to street art, especially smaller scale and materially diverse practices. As such, serves as a point of difference from established mural festivals and provides artists who either don’t fit the profile of large-scale muralism or want to push to new directions with their work. For the inaugural festival, we gathered nine local creatives, a mixture of established names and newer artists and helped them take their work to the streets – Jacob Yikes, Ghostcat, Ikarus, Jessie Rawcliffe, Bloom, Dark Ballad, teethlikescrewdrivers, Nathan Ingram and Kophie a.k.a Meep, all contributing whimsical, meaningful and striking pieces. The installations ranged from paintings to sculptural pieces, interactive and participatory approaches and ephemeral interventions. With over 50 individuals pieces scattered throughout the city, the festival encouraged exploration and new ways of looking. In addition to the featured artworks, the festival also presented a programme of free events, including walking tours, an artist panel discussion, treasure hunts, workshops and activations (including Tink’s installation at festival sponsor Westfield Riccarton). We were blown away with the response to the festival and we can’t wait to bring the Little Street Art Festival back soon! For more information, check out our website: https://www.littlestreetartfestival.co.nz/ – but for now – check out some of our favourite pictures captured by festival photographer Centuri Chan

Jacob Yikes & Ghostcat
Jacob Yikes & Ghostcat
Jacob Yikes & Ghostcat
Jacob Yikes & Ghostcat
Jacob Yikes & Ghostcat
Jacob Yikes & Ghostcat
Jacob Yikes & Ghostcat
Jessie Rawcliffe
Jessie Rawcliffe
Jessie Rawcliffe
Jessie Rawcliffe
Jessie Rawcliffe
Jessie Rawcliffe
Jessie Rawcliffe
Jessie Rawcliffe
Jessie Rawcliffe
Jessie Rawcliffe
Bloom
Bloom
Bloom
Jacob Yikes & Ghostcat
Jacob Yikes & Ghostcat
Jacob Yikes & Ghostcat
Jacob Yikes & Ghostcat
Jacob Yikes & Ghostcat
Jacob Yikes & Ghostcat
Jacob Yikes & Ghostcat
Kophie a.k.a. Meep
Kophie a.k.a. Meep
Kophie a.k.a. Meep
Kophie a.k.a. Meep
Kophie a.k.a. Meep
Ikarus
Ikarus
Ikarus
Ikarus
Dark Ballad
Dark Ballad
Dark Ballad
Dark Ballad
Dark Ballad
Nathan Ingram
Nathan Ingram
Nathan Ingram
Nathan Ingram
Nathan Ingram
Nathan Ingram
Nathan Ingram
Nathan Ingram
Nathan Ingram

A massive thank you our sponsors: Westfield Riccarton, Antony & Mates, Phantom Billstickers, Christchurch City Council, Toi Otautahi, Creative Communities and all our Boosted donors!

SHOWTIME! Clones – Klaudia Bartos and Friends

Friday November 4th saw the opening of a unique exhibition as Klaudia Bartos brought together an array of Otautahi creatives to give fresh takes on her clay faces that have populated the city over the last year.

Bartos’ small faces provided the canvas for more than 25 local artists, each adding their signature (or surprising) flair to the intriguing characters. Staged at the Masked Artist Gallery in the BOXed Quarter, the cluster of creations a survey of characters and suggested mind states, from references to classic cinema and pop culture, to blossoming elements of the natural world and more abstract configurations. A celebration of community and individualism!

Clones features work by Glen Cutin, Melike Gungor, PK, Jessie Rawcliffe, Peaz, Nick Lowry, Melanie McKerchar, Devon Jones, Sarah Lund, Apex the Artist, Bet, Louann Sidon, RATS, Olivia Isabel Smith, Dark Ballad, Smeagol, Hode, Jay Skelton, Hambone, Jimirah, Reubin Caldwell, Neil Swiggs, Hannah Martin, Masked Artist, Amy Couling, Wynn Smith, and Catherine Brougham.

And That Was… November 2023

OK, so this is a little late – OK, so this is a lot late. Sorry, but better late than never, right? Right? Anyway, let’s just ignore the tardiness and get on with it, because, there was plenty to enjoy throughout November – headlined by our very own Little Street Art Festival finally coming to life (what did we say about better being late than never?) alongside a slew of other favourites… What did we love? Read on and find out…

The Little Street Art Festival

After several years of planning, we were as proud as punch to finally bring The Little Street Art Festival to life in late November! A celebration of the powerful potential of smaller-scaled street art and it’s material diversity, the festival featured eight projects by nine local artists spread across the central city – from paintings to sculptures and even interactive treasure hunts. Additionally, we hosted guided tours, an artist panel, workshops and activations – thank you to all who took part and supported this event – we look forward to seeing how far we can take this unique concept and we are already looking forward to 2024! For more information, visit littlestreetartfestival.co.nz. [Photo credit: Centuri Chan]

Shadows Surgeon’s Cutting Up The Dark

We were lucky enough to be in the audience for the premiere of Shadows Surgeon’s incredible documentary Cutting Up The Dark at Wigram’s Silky Otter Cinema – surrounded by a who’s who of local graffiti artists, many featured in the film. A roving exploration of graffiti across Te Waipounamu, from abandoned hot spots to fresh productions captured in action, the film reflects the director’s stunning photography and willingness to explore – an amazing watch that re-frames our beautiful motu! Visit https://www.cuttingupthedark.com/ for streaming options!

Clones – A Show by Klaudia Bartos and Friends

Friday November 3rd saw the opening of Clones, a collaborative show created by Klaudia Bartos at Masked Artist Gallery in the Boxed Quarter. Taking her small clay face sculptures as the grounding for a collection of her friends to create new forms, the show was based around ‘clones’ of Bartos’ original pieces. A line up of diverse talents, the creations were striking, intriguing, humorous, clever and heartfelt. We were especially fond of Jessie Rawcliffe’s red skull piece, but so was someone else, who snapped it up straight away…

Dcypher’s Cybernetic City

Fittingly painted at the St Asaph Street entrance to Cotters Lane, where his nostalgic Kodak mural resides, Dcypher’s recent futuristic production is a clear contrast to the more historically-minded sepia work with a cybernetic vision of our entangled existence with digital technology. Deploying blues and pinks to highlight the neon effect, the work is yet another example of the talent of an aerosol master…

KURUPT Cleans Up The City

We loved these stencils popping up around the city, a playful poke at the buff and ‘cleaning up’ the city. Simple and clearly a celebration of the traditions of stencil art, the repeated piece also remembers that a sense of humour has always been a key component of post-graffiti street art’s commentary.

So, these were our favourites from November – what about you? Feel free to take a while to think it over, just like we did!

Spotlight – Jen_Heads sparkles…

The latest projection in our Spotlight series is a truly mesmerising addition – a rotation of fiery, glowing and ruminative icons by local artist Jen_Heads, brought to energetic life by Sam Emerson from Offline Collective. Jenna Ingram’s Jen_Heads have become a recurring form in her work, appearing on canvas, paper, and walls, now given life through the Spotlight collaboration.

The dazzling Jen_Heads animation embodies the profound connection between humanity and the natural
world. The work is a fresh imagining of Ingram’s titular urban icon, a form of endless possibility. The animation evolves through four stages, as the artist explains: “the initial two heads symbolize the essence of human nature with the heads pulsing like a heartbeat, seamlessly transitioning into our harmonious integration with the natural world, as depicted in the flora and fauna heads.” The shift from energetic flames of purple to serene green provides a sense of relieving calm, reward for a more attuned
relationship with the organic environment. Ingram continues: “the concluding pair of heads
signifies the spiritual dimension of our existence, reflecting our deep-rooted ties to ancient
wisdom and ancestral heritage. This artistic representation underscores the fundamental unity
that binds us all together.” Standing in front of the evolving animation, one is struck by the sense of humanity and elemental connections.

Ōtautahi artist Jenna Lynn Ingram, also known as Jen_Heads, holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from
the University of Canterbury, where her interest in the urban landscape as a site of influence
blossomed. In the wake of the Christchurch Earthquakes, her work shifted to the streets, a
transition that led her to form Aotearoa’s leading urban art gallery Fiksate Gallery. Ingram’s work
has been exhibited and collected throughout Aotearoa and she has been featured in festivals
and exhibitions such as Spectrum (2014) and SHIFT: Urban Art Takeover (2023).

Offline Collective is a visual creative agency based in Ōtautahi, Aotearoa.
Offline is engaged in a range of creative endeavours, constantly exploring new possibilities
through the lens of technology. Offline Collective’s work ranges from live touring visuals and art
installations, to graphic and motion design, combining diverse creative fields to unlock new
ideas.

Spotlight – Urban Art Projections is a collaboration between Watch This Space and ChristchurchNZ, providing a fresh approach to urban creativity for talented local artists. Connecting visual artists with digital creatives, Spotlight explores the potential of projection works, illuminating the exterior of Te Pae Christchurch Convention Centre.