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.
The fourth installation of this female-centric Spotlight series, Ōtautahi artist and designer Jimirah Baliza’s Get a Grip, is a playful invitation to passers-by; an invitation to pause and immerse ourselves in a scene that transcends our immediate experience. The animated depiction of a retro arcade claw machine embodies the unpredictable nature of life, reminding us that it is often filled with both anticipation and uncertainty, ups and downs, near misses and satisfying successes. Anyone who has played such a game knows the hope, the excitement, the calculation, the frustration, and ultimately either the disappointment or the elation of the challenge. Drawing on this universal connection, Baliza presents a whimsical moment of candy floss pink and baby blue nostalgia, transporting us back to a time of innocence and wonder, where the act of winning a prize was a heart-pounding adventure.
Get a Grip plays through the experience of the game on a loop of attempts, at first failing, the prize slipping from the metal claw, but eventually succeeding, creating a crescendo of joy following the spilled first attempts. The smile as the ‘prize’ toddles off from the machine. The prizes themselves, cheerful animal characters, serve as smiling participants in the challenge. They become echoes of community, networks of support with the ability to uplift each other. We are encouraged to keep on, to go again, to get our rewards and to revel in that success.
Jimirah Baliza is an Ōtautahi Christchurch-based independent graphic designer, illustrator and artist. Raised in Manila, Baliza is a creative problem solver at heart, with a passion for working with entrepreneurs, local businesses, community groups and organisations, enhancing their visual communications and their ability to engage, empower and educate across print, screen and space. Get a Grip was once again supported by local legend Nicholas Keyse. Pushing the limits of graphics technology while incorporating traditional techniques,Keyse founded Immersive Reality Ltd after working extensively in the print and digital design industry. Showcasing his work in exhibitions, Keyse held a solo exhibition at the Centre of Contemporary Arts’ Lux Gallery in Christchurch in 2019. Co-founder and curator of record label Subtle Recordings, he is also well-known for his prolific production of music posters with which he hopes to continue to inspire future creatives.
Spotlight – Urban Art Projections is proudly presented by Watch This Space in collaboration with ChristchurchNZ. This iteration of Spotlight proudly shines a light on the diverse work of four talented female Ōtautahi artists – exploring new possibilities for urban creativity and adding a surprising twist to the city after dark! The Spotlight 2.0 project was completed with support from the Hine te Hiringa – Empower Women Utilising FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 Fund to help celebrate and empower women.
The third work presented as part of the Spotlight project went live on the last day of August – urban gardener Bloom‘s Wall of Blooms another beautiful addition to the series. Multi-disciplinary artist, designer, curator and all-round powerhouse Bloom’s urban flowers have appeared in a variety of sizes, forms and locations across the city for several years now, from small drawings, paste-ups and painted wooden blocks, to the Paste-Up Project bollard and the recent production of a large mural at QB Studios on St Asaph Street. Wall of Blooms adds another incarnation of the artist’s work to Ōtautahi’s streets, the animated digital illustration a truly mesmerising apparition on the side of Te Pae – Christchurch Convention Centre.
The white line illustration, once again animated by digital artist Nicholas Keyse from Immersive Reality, comes to life on the wall, growing and blooming in front of the viewer, before gently swaying and evenutally receding, playing out a full life cycle. Inspired by the urban gardeners of Ōtautahi and the beauty of nature, Wall of Blooms reflects our ever-changing cityscape and the determination of nature amidst the concrete, instilling a sense of wonder and appreciation for life’s precious moments. The subtle movement suggests liveliness and the endurance of nature, thriving in an environment constructed to deny its existence. These blooms, huge in scale, are testament to persistence. The grouping also suggests ideas of community and our own ability to thrive through our networks of support.
Wall of Blooms invites us to pause and to observe the flowers’ growth, fostering a connection with nature and celebrating the simple yet stunning elements of life that surround us every day. A poignant reminder of the resilience and beauty found in unexpected places, Wall of Blooms prompts us to cherish the present while encouraging collective efforts to support nature’s growth and, by extension, our own ability to flourish, to find strength and joy within ourselves. Simple things really are the most powerful.
Spotlight – Urban Art Projections is proudly presented by Watch This Space and ChristchurchNZ. Spotlight 2.0 specifically shines a light on the diverse work of four talented female Ōtautahi artists – exploring new possibilities for urban creativity and adding a surprising twist to the city after dark! The Spotlight project was completed with support from the Hine te Hiringa – Empower Women Utilising FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 Fund to help celebrate and empower women.
The second work of our Spotlight 2.0 series is now live and illuminating the exterior of Te Pae – Christchurch Convention Centre with vibrant light and alluring movement. Artist River Jayden‘s stunning Te Tihi o Kahukura showcases the beauty of toi Māori, while adding a bright contemporary twist. Jayden explains that ‘Te Tihi o Kahukura’ translates to ‘The Citadel of Kahukura’ or the pinnacle of the rainbow. In te reo Māori, Kahukura is one of the names given for a rainbow, and it is said, specifically the arch of a rainbow. Te Tihi o Kahukura is also the first name of Castle Rock, the famous outcrop on Summit Road. Kahukura, a spirit guardian, is an important figure in the Kāi Tahu (Ngāi Tahu) creation story. To Kāi Tahu, Kahukura is an atua (god) and the decorator of the whenua (land), bringing light, colour and beauty to all surroundings. Jayden’s work acknowledges Kāi Tahu as mana whenua, while emphasizing the importance of Kāi Tahu oral traditions and Mātauranga Māori (Māori knowledge). Drawing on traditional design elements and employing strong line work, the bold use of colour, essentially neon-like, adds a contemporary flair. Nicholas Keyse’s slow, understated animation, including a blinking eye and fluid movement, imbues Jayden’s work with a calm, yet fascinating quality, drawing the viewer in. Te Tihi o Kahukura is visible from distance, a beacon calling forth and reflecting our region’s history, beauty and future.
River Jayden (Ngāti Tahu – Ngāti Whaoa, Ngāti Tuwharetoa & Ngāti Maaniapoto) is a painter and graphic designer who uses traditional Māori toi (art) and design within a contemporary context. Te Tihi o Kahukura was developed with support from digital artist Nicholas Keyse, founder of Immersive Reality Ltd.
Spotlight 2.0 shines a light on four talented female Ōtautahi artists, giving their work a new platform, projecting animated pieces on the exterior of Te Pae. With a diverse range of artists, displaying unique visual and thematic interests, Spotlight 2.0 illuminates our powerful creative communities and raises new possibilities in the cityscape. Spotlight 2.0 is supported by ChristchurchNZ and the Hine te Hiringa – Empower Women Utilising FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 Fund to help celebrate and empower women.
We now proudly present the second iteration of the Spotlight project, again supported by ChristchurchNZ, this time highlighting four talented female artists from Ōtautahi. Made possible by the Hine te Hiringa – Empower Women Utilising FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 Fund, this series of digital works will highlight the diverse practices of the artists, giving a new dimension to their work through scale, animation and light.
The first projection is a haunting rotation by multi-disciplinary Jessie Rawcliffe. Painstakingly creating each frame, Rawcliffe’s work is a study in craft and the understanding of movement, a new approach for the artist. The individual aspect of each image, pieced together with help from Immersive Reality’s Nicholas Keyse, heightens the recognition of each mark, the hand of the artist made evident even in the digital render. The effect is painterly and human, a quality that is also found in the portrait-based subject. The slowly-moving image transitions from a female face to a hooded red skull, an evocative juxtaposition made even more powerful by the almost emotionless expression. This figure is an archetype, allowing the audience to reflect on their own experiences, and ultimately, mortality.
With a quicker rotation of works in this series, stay tuned for the next projection. The remaining artists, River Jayden, Bloom and Jimirah Baliza will be featured in the coming weeks. To see the Spotlight works in person, head to the intersection of Colombo and Gloucester Streets after dark.
Watch This Space is proud to present Spotlight – Urban Art Projections, a project in collaboration with ChristchurchNZ that literally shines a light on local creative talent. Spotlight showcases a series of unique art works created by some of Ōtautahi’s best urban artists in collaboration with talented local animators, exploring new possibilities for urban creativity and adding a surprising twist to Christchurch after dark!
Making use of the prominent wall on the exterior of the Te Pae – Christchurch Convention Centre at the intersection of Colombo and Gloucester Streets, Spotlight projects the work of four Ōtautahi visual artists, their work brought to moving life by local digital artists. The animation gives each work a new lease of life; the mural-sized projections imbued with subtle, alluring movements that re-imagine the original productions. With a planned four installations, Spotlight has already platformed two works that have captivated and surprised passersby:
Jacob Yikes’ I will never know…
The Surrealist world of Jacob Yikes provided the first Spotlight installation back in May; the artist’s beguiling landscapes a fitting subject for this unique project. Animated by Nicholas Keyse from Immersive Reality, Yikes’ 2022 painting I will never know was animated with slowly unfurling tendrils and a rolling horizontal band of shimmering turquoise, creating an evocative, unsettling atmosphere and providing an invitation to explore this strange, unexpected landscape manifested on a central city wall, like a dream come to life. The softly moving pieces gently beckoned the viewer, requiring a double-take as more parts of the image were revealed to be alive with understated movement.
Yikes’ world-building has always suggested movement, here, this landscape was given life, while still retaining a sense of quietude and mystery. Occupying the Te Pae wall for a month, I will never know created an unexpected encounter for many walking past, a perfect starting point for Spotlight…
Dcypher’s Welcome to the City…
The second, and current Spotlight installation is Dcypher’s illustration Welcome to the City, a work that draws on the artist’s formative experiences exploring the urban environment through graffiti and skateboarding. Enduring influences, these subcultures recognise the urban landscape, and its overlooked spaces as sites for expression, transformation, subversion, and creativity. Dcypher affirms that: “The beauty that these spaces hold as inspirational layers to be interacted with is the key message of this work. I’ve always loved the look of the raw underbelly of urban architecture, the flip side of the facade, the back alleys, the fire escapes… These spots are constantly in flux as urban subcultures expand in their complexity and reach.”
Dcypher’s adventurous environment has also been brought to life by Keyse, who utilised the artwork’s layers to craft a captivating illusion. Exploring the scene’s depth by zooming in and scanning across the composition, the viewer is guided through the maze-like terrain, Keyse explaining: “As the journey unfolded, I aimed for a thought-provoking narrative to take shape, hinting that this snapshot is merely an echo reverberating across the vast expanse beyond the immediate foreground.” The movement emphasises the exploratory element, the blue-grey tone and flashing yellow lights suggesting the distinct worlds of interior comfort and exterior adventure. Welcome to the City continues Spotlight‘s mission to activate the city…
The next installation, a work by painter and illustrator Jessie Rawcliffe will be unveiled in the coming weeks – stay tuned!
Spotlight is a collaborative project between Watch This Space and ChristchurchNZ working with a collection of local creatives – let us know about your Spotlight encounters!
The Christchurch Hip Hop Summit kicked off for 2022 with a day of painting and tunes as the oldest of the four elements took centre stage. Organised and curated by Ikarus of the DTR Crew, the Summit’s Graffiti Jam featured two productions; one by a collection of local artists at the re-activated Dance-O-Mat site on Manchester Street and the other, a collaboration between the DTR and FILTH crews, along Spark Laneway between Hereford Street and Cathedral Square. While the two jams had starkly different atmospheres; DJs played music as crowds gathered at the Dance-O-Mat, the DTR and FILTH jam more low-key, they both celebrated the traditions of graffiti and resulted in impressive productions.
Urban collage artist Cape of Storms became the third contributor to the Paste-Up Project in early June, her bright installation completed in glorious sunshine. The concept, drawing on the artist’s experiences acclimating to life in Aotearoa through the lens of humorously juxtaposed vintage magazine and advertising imagery, provided a reflection of the advertising often found in our urban environment, almost tricking the passing audience into a sense of normality. Upon closer inspection though, the bollard was filled more playful and acerbic content, including a brick wall section packed with a wide range of images. The result was a bold production with electric colours gleaming in the sun, simultaneously covert and unmissable.
But, then the weather changed and the installation was faced with a slew of challenges. As torrential rain hit Christchurch, the paste-ups started to peel and soon, it seemed as though people had pulled the pieces off, leaving the bollard naked in places. Luckily, part of Cape of Storm’s concept was the incorporation of friends’ work to be added over time, and this unfortunate series of events provided the opportunity to refresh the bollard on a large scale.
Cape of Storm’s installation has not only provided a bold burst of colour, but a fascinating narrative that ties into the nature of both paste-up art and the process of making art in the urban environment…
Kia ora! Would you like to introduce yourself?
I am Cape of Storms, a Christchurch-based collage artist, I collect obscure retro images and phrases and put them together in a fun and quirky way.
What was your initial reaction to the Paste-Up Project proposal?
I was very excited by the concept, and also daunted in equal measure at the sheer size and scale of the bollard surface area. I typically work no larger than A3-sized pieces and often very detailed and refined. It takes hours to hunt out and combine different images together into one cohesive new image. I hand-cut and glue everything with just a pair of scissors or a small craft knife, arrange and overlap, and then carefully glue everything together. Some of my pieces are comprised of 30 or more smaller images and words! So, the challenge of this project was filling in all that open space. In the end my approach was to try to go big, but also fill the space with as much as possible to keep it interesting and provide a piece of art that had several dimensions to it.
With two artists having already contributed to the project, were you primarily interested in doing something different?
Yes, I was keen to do something unique to my style and stay true to that – I think my art style is so significantly different to both Teeth Like Screwdrivers and Bloom n Grow Gal‘s that it wasn’t too hard to be different!
What is the central theme of your installation and how does it relate to your existing work?
The installation is a progression or continuation of a new style I have been working on for about a year now, which I am really enjoying.
I have titled the series covering the bollard Foreign Objects. Being a foreigner living in New Zealand, I am continually getting to grips with my identity and trying to relate to my surroundings, often times feeling like a fish out of water. As a lover of nostalgia, I found myself combining these two themes.
Throughout this series I intentionally tried to create a silly, nonsense, imaginary world that could reawaken nostalgic memories in the viewer. Over a period of months I sourced hundreds of different found images – from old cook books, special interest magazines, newspapers, catalogues and children’s books from bygone eras. Things I remember seeing in my mother and grandmother’s house during my childhood growing up through the 90s. To many younger people, these images might seem totally foreign or out of place in modern times, as they are simply just not in common use any more. So through this use of retro “foreign” objects and arranging them together in weird, silly and fun ways, they all come together and are recognisable and familiar as a whole, something that the viewer can relate to. I tried to select a range of bright candy colours for the background which would stand out on the grey inner-city street-scape around the bollard. The candy-coloured palette also reinforced the nostalgic theme. For me, this ended up being very effective at inviting the viewer in from a distance, to come up closer and look at the bollard in more detail, particularly in the heart of winter!
The brick wall section running along the bottom third of the bollard and the very top section running like a ribbon all around is a collection of my existing collage art that I have been pasting up on the streets of Christchurch over the past two years. It was nice to include these on the bollard as well, alongside the more considered poster series that I created especially for this project.
You decided to remove the spacers on the bollard, making it one consistent 360 degree surface – which makes the experience more continuous, was that the thinking?
I didn’t like the “frames” or physical boundaries the spacing strips created, I wanted each individual poster to look like another part of the imaginary world I was creating. I also wanted to encourage the viewer to walk right around the bollard and see the image as one continuous surface.
You have included some big prints but also some collaborative spaces, what was the intention of the brick wall?
The brick wall section was intended to be a space where the wider Slap City collective group of artists would jump in and slap up various individual pieces, just as we do on our regular paste-up missions around the city.
Unfortunately due to the intense winter weather over the last month and the group not being able to meet up so frequently, we weren’t able to get in and fill that area before about 80% of the bollard surface was damaged in the torrential rain.
But the damage to the bollard has now cleared even more space, so if we are able, we will try and cover the empty spaces up again in between now and when Mark Catley inherits the bollard – I’m very excited to see what he’s got planned!!!
Printing the large posters became quite a process, working with the team from Phantom, has that changed your thinking around your work more widely? And what other challenges did the whole process throw up?
I knew I wanted to print everything with Phantom – they are the experts and their prints are of amazing quality and designed to be more durable and last out in the elements (sadly the record-breaking wet weather we’ve experienced over the last month took its toll!). The trickiest part was maintaining resolution when scaling up from original A4 or A3 size to A0 size. I was really worried that the images would look pixelated and poor quality. In the end I put all my scanned images through a free online tool called The Rasterbator which I hadn’t previously used much before, but is very popular among paste-up artists, especially Teeth Like Screwdrivers, who encouraged me to get into using it. Luckily this helped tremendously in keeping the images sharp and looking half-decent. I then asked the assistance of the very talented Tom Horton, the printer at Phantom, and he worked his magic, did some test-prints and the posters came out so much better than I could have ever imagined!
The next trickiest part was the installation itself, which I found very challenging having never done anything of that size or nature before. My design relied upon the posters going up very neatly and level, and the curved surface was seriously difficult to work with, and certainly will not be under-estimated in the future. I was so lucky to have the help of my partner who is a painter, as well as Vez and JZA who were able to help me paste up high (as I embarrassingly have bad vertigo when up on ladders!). This project has again made me appreciate what a special, supportive group of people we have in the Slapcity collective, coming together to do awesome stuff, promoting our many and varied street art mediums and just generally have a cool time together.
What does the Paste-Up Project represent for you as an artist who works in the paper medium? Has it given you ideas for where you might be able to take your work next?
I was totally blown away by the opportunity to prepare a legitimate art installation all in paper-based form. We have a lot of murals and graffiti/paint/spray-based pieces all around the city, so it was really encouraging to receive a project like this especially for paper-based art. For me personally, seeing the sheer scale of the prints, and printing on very high-quality paper has added a whole other dimension to where I think my art could go in the future, and I can see new possibilities for future projects with scaling up and going big. Finding a way to cost-effectively create large prints and in a format that is durable enough to withstand the winter elements and last a little longer out in the streets is a serious challenge for paper-based artists.
Is there anyone you want to thank?
Watch This Space for the support and patience, also for the help cleaning off and preparing the bollard surface ahead of the installation! Phantom Billstickers – Tom, Jake and the team. The Christchurch City Council’s Enliven Places fund for funding and the opportunity. Teeth Like Screwdrivers for the advice, tips and tricks. Vez and JZA for the help pasting up on the day and going high up on ladders when I wasn’t brave enough! Bongo and Neil Swiggs for the donation of some seriously good old books and magazines that I used in a few of the collages. The Slapcity crew for the support & a source of creative inspiration.
And my partner Fernando for allowing the complete take over of my time and helping with the installation!
Stay tuned for our next artist announcement for The Paste-Up Project!
Follow Cape of Storms on Instagram for more collage-y paste-y goodness!
For the latest installment of Street Treats, we are serving up a selection of pieces, pastes, pixels, petals and beyond. From a reminder of an old pal’s legacy, to epic collaborations and tiny treats, the streets have provided a range of goodies. That is, of course, the joy of the urban environment as a setting for creative (and naughty) interventions, there is no curation. The result echoes the physical presence of our cities, where thousands, indeed millions of people interweave as they go about their own concerns, trials and aspirations. Any city is a collection of individual voices and the art of the streets reflects this diversity, each piece the compulsive expression of an individual that can be read in infinite ways by the passing audience. In a world where online communication has become increasingly toxic and antagonistic, the art in the streets provides something different, still capable of asserting beliefs and ideologies, but devoid of the escalating tensions or echo chambers of comment sections. Indeed, as one image attests, often the response to uninvited additions is not so much beautification as silencing, ensuring a monochromatic environment. So enjoy this platter of pictures and relax, our cities and our communities are not monolithic, and the streets provide the platform for that multiplicity…
The necessities are vital…
Wisdom is often silent. And old friends are found again – Carrot Boy in North Beach
Bloom’s ceramic works provide small surprises across the city…
Especially in contrast to some larger works
Ghostcat’s street pizza is a tasty treat
9 Iron shows the Hereford Street spot is still alive, for now
Big is good
Oxy goes psychedelic
OCKSY’s on call
PKAY shows small, in the right place, can be effective…
Anyone else a sucker for a beautiful doorway?
Drama above and an impressive collab below with a raft of names…
A Levi Hawken piece goes incognito
Cape of Storms’ newest works are vibrant reflections of nostalgic Kiwiana through the lens of new eyes…
Vez and friends Diva Dog and Fuzzy Logic
Who needs a billboard?
Major Tom? We need you…
Cropping is everything… Cape of Storms, Vez, Lost Boy and more…
Lost Boy goes off planet
Mark Catley celebrated another May the 4th with some iconic Star Wars toys Bossk and Greedo (Han shot first?).
and a lesser known Power Droid (yes I had to look that up)
A trip to Auckland provided some stencilled goodies… From social commentary…
to pop culture riffs
and Component’s stunning balancing act.
This throw back from Askew
was set against more fresh work…
And a reminder of the city as a site for exploration…
In collaboration with Life in Vacant Spaces, Watch This Space recently worked with the 7 Oaks community at Hassals Lane to create a welcoming mural on the beautiful site. 7 Oaks is a diverse community who have made the old school site in Waltham home, the space a wondrous environment of creativity and nature.
After a consultation process with the community, a participatory mural concept was developed to reflect the 7 Oaks space and to send a warm welcome to visitors as they enter the site. In a simple typographic concept, a variety of leaves, many drawn from the site’s own plush greenery, were roller stencilled by people of all ages inside the text, ensuring a sense of engagement and legacy for multiple generations (the youngest artist was just two years old!). The understated, but bold outcome echoed the colourful surroundings and the community spirit of cooperation.
Truly a team effort, the mural would never have eventuated without the many hands and minds who contributed; Elisha from LiVS (and her predecessor Rachael), Marian, Lily, Ollie, John and the many more members of the 7 Oaks community, Mike and Nick for their technical and practical assistance, and most importantly, the tireless Lydia from LiVS – team work makes the dream work!
Are you interested in a mural project? Email email@example.com and let’s see how we can help!