And That Was… April 2024

April is that strange period when Daylight Savings ends and yet there is still a late afternoon glow that makes you realise that we are not yet fully ensconced in Winter. There is an optimism found in that glow, one that masks the panic that often sets in when you click that we are a third of the way through the year. I guess April feels like a lovely, calm swansong. And importantly, the longer nights, before it gets too cold, allow for a bit more creative activity, whether outside or in the studio (depending on your personal preferences) – the grandeur of Summer and large-scale murals replaced with a smaller sense of possibility. What did we love in April? Read on and find out…

Dove @ The Climate Action Campus

There is some real action taking place at the Avonside site of the Climate Action Campus, with the A-Maze-Ink art trail allowing artists the opportunity to brighten the walls with artwork that illuminates the campus kaupapa. One of our favourites is Dove‘s striking painting of a tauhou and korimako against a busy background – an example of the artist’s smooth style, the work is at once calming and energetic.

Freshly Wet Paste-Ups

We love seeing a flurry of activity on the streets, so the recent installation of a series of large paste-up works across the city by Dark Ballad and Klaudia Bartos gave us a real shot in the arm. From the nightmarish darkness of Dark Ballad’s wood-block works to the twisted visages of Klaudia’s characters, the stark black and white works are just delightful… ly disarming.

Alfa and Teknq in New Brighton

Clearly visible as I drive home, I have loved watching this collab between TEKNQ and ALFA come together – even if it has proven a distraction from attentive driving. The fiery colour palette of the pieces, accompanied by the Skull Kid character from the Legend of Zelda – Majora’s Mask game, add an ominous quality but also perfectly play off the existing wall and building’s qualities.

Vice Australia X Meep

We can’t reveal too much as the video is still in post-production, but we had a blast hanging out with local superstar Kophie a.k.a Meep and the crew from Vice Australia as they explored Ōtautahi Christchurch’s varied offerings – spanning our city’s eats, treats and streets! Stay tuned for the end product…

Shōgun

As the weather becomes perfect for spending time indoors, it is a good chance to share what we have been watching – and nothing has been as good as Shōgun on Disney+! Based on the 1975 novel by James Clavell, the series explores the political machinations of 17th Century Japan. Centred on Yoshii Toranaga, John Blackthorne, Lady Mariko and the charismatic Yabushige, the show revels in the delicious details and the subterfuge of “men talking in rooms” (thanks House of R podcast). After one episode, we were hooked and a binge followed – dive in!

These were our picks, what caught your eye in April? Let us know in the comments…

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… 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!

And That Was… October 2023

October is a transitional month. Technically it is Spring, but there isn’t quite the feeling that Summer is just about here. Rain is as likely as sunshine. It seems the most fitting month to represent Otautahi in some ways, enjoyably unpredictable. So what tickled our fancy over the October weeks? Well, there was a bit to enjoy – projections, murals, little bits and pieces – all sorts, just like the weather. Let’s get a bit more specific shall we? Here are five things we enjoyed:

Mark Catley’s “Battle of the Undies

Sure, we may be showing our bias as 80s kids, but if you remember the Masters of the Universe toys that had chests that would flick between various stages of battle scars, these paste ups by Mark Catlery will bring nostalgic joy rushing back…

Dcypher goes cosmic…

We are constantly amazed at the prodigious work ethic and technical skill of Dcypher – this new Colombo Street mural is evidence of both – the science fiction cum fantasy scene combines a range of flourishing details to astound passersby, but the speed with which it was painted is equally impressive – we truly have a master in our midst.

Jen_Heads at Te Pae

The latest addition to the Spotlight – Urban Art Projections series is a fiery and mesmerising collaboration between the titular artist and Sam Emerson from Offline Collective – rotating through illuminated iterations of Jenna Ingram’s urban icon, it is well worth the visit once the sun goes down!

Ghostcat’s Leave No Trace Trail

Firstly, apologies for the blurry photo, but honestly, one of the best aspects of Ghostcat’s latest addition to his Leave No Trace trail is its subtle placement deep inside City Mall. Paying homage to the iconic Hack Circle, a legend of the city’s youth culture, the small recreation sits as a nodding wink to those who survey their surroundings and a reminder of the ways things change.

Paint the Town Blank…

We don’t know the artist but we couldn’t exclude this cheeky little stencil work – it’s influences are clear, but it is still a playful reminder that white-washed walls are, quite frankly, boring.

And That Was… September 2023

September. The month Daylight Savings kicks in and a more optimistic air becomes more pervasive. The changing of the clocks allows us all to feel like we can get more done, that we can become more sociable and upbeat. Sure, this may not be universally true, but it is kind of real, right? It definitely felt like that. But it was also apparent that for this more upbeat attitude, the weather was keen to keep us on our toes, from wet downpours to howling winds, a number of the events and projects we loved this past month were affected by unpredictable weather. From significant projects and popular events, September provided a number of treats, and here they are:

Kophie Su’a-Hulsbosch and Janine WilliamsWāhine Toa Mural

We were privileged to work on this significant project, supporting two immensely talented artists, Ōtautahi’s Kophie Su’a-Hulsbosch and Tāmaki Makaurau’s Janine Williams, in spotlighting the legacies of five wāhine toa who left indelible influences on this city and country. This landmark mural, depicting author and peace activist Elsie Locke, Olympian Neroli Fairhall, singer, broadcaster and champion for Māori culture and language Airini Nga Roimata Grennell Gopas, Māori welfare and health activist Erihapeti Rehu-Murchie and conservationist and Ngāi Tahu leader Wharetutu te Aroha Stirling, was launched on the occasion of the 130th anniversary of the Suffrage movement in Aotearoa, a reminder of the importance of honouring those who laid the path for our future generations of women to succeed and change the world. Thank you to ChristchurchNZ for the support!

Christchurch Hip Hop Summit x DTR Crew Graffiti Jam

No crew in Aotearoa can match the productions of our own local legends the DTR Crew – a fact evidenced by their work at the Dance-O-Mat for the Christchurch Hip Hop Summit – a stunning work that is all the more incredible when we acknowledge the conditions under which it was created, with torrential rain howling around the artists. But bad weather is no match for the DTR Crew, with a stunning creation, evoking the Lonestar State, and featuring Wongi ‘Freak’ Wilson’s incredible portrait of musician That Mexican OT, transforming the site.

Christchurch Hip Hop Summit Graffiti Art Panel Discussion

We were lucky enough to host the graffiti panel discussion at the Christchurch Hip Hop Summit’s series of talks – a great opportunity to hear from four artists about their insights and experiences in the world of graffiti art. With a panel consisting of Ikarus, Drows, Meep and Local Elements, we touched on gender in graffiti, colour blindness, the centrality of style across hip hop, exploring cultural identity through graffiti and more topics. (Image from Christchurch Hip Hop Summit)

Spotlight – Urban Art Projections

September saw two stunning works featured in the Spotlight series – Bloom’s Wall of Blooms and Jimirah Baliza’s Get a Grip – both very different creations, but both beautiful ephemeral additions to city after dark and testimony to the talented female creatives who call Ōtautahi home! While Bloom’s linear bouquet provided a serene encounter, Baliza’s candyfloss pink claw game riffed on the nostalgia of childhood. Spotlight has been an amazing opportunity to afford artists a new format to showcase their work, one that has unlocked plenty of future potential! (Image: Jimirah Baliza’s Get a Grip)

Cheap Thrills Market @ Lyttelton

We loved the pop culture goodness at Dead Video’s Cheap Thrills Market in Lyttelton in mid September – from film to anime, cartoon, collectibles and gaming, it was a treasure trove of memories and must-haves. I even managed to pick up a signed One Man Gang 8×10 (IYKYK)…

These were our highlights for September – but what did we miss? Let us know your favourites in the comments!

And That Was… August 2023

I’ve never really trusted August as a month. I know, it sounds silly, but its a tricky month. It is at the end of Winter and is cold and wet (more other than not), which means a constant struggle with not being able to wear t-shirts more consistently. And it’s place in the calendar means you can only reflect on how much of the year has passed you by. It isn’t helped by the imposter syndrome – you know, being a renamed month in the Gregorian calendar and all… I guess I’m just skeptical. Luckily, there have been some cool happenings, discoveries and teases this August to supersede this lingering distrust and warm my apparently cold heart just enough to be ready for the arrival of Spring and the goodness I’m sure we will find in the coming weeks and months… So, here’s what we loved last month…

Jessie Rawcliffe’s Spotlight Projection

Not the last mention of the Spotlight project in this list, but Jessie Rawcliffe‘s haunting animated image was a perfect start to the new iteration of the projection series. The rotating image (each frame individually rendered by the artist) alternated between a strong female portrait and a hooded red skull – an evocative contrast that illuminated Rawcliffe’s exquisite illustrative talent.

Ghostcat’s Leave No Trace Trail

Ghostcat‘s Ghosts on Every Corner project will encompass a range of elements: an exhibition, a book, and a public art trail. The first installation of the latter went up in August, a tribute to a true Lyttelton icon. On the corner of London Street, the small red and yellow frontage of the famous Volcano Cafe is strapped to a lamppost, just metres from the home of now fallen building. A loving memorial, this is just the first of a series of works that will pay homage to the places and spaces that made Ōtautahi Christchurch, well, Ōtautahi Christchurch…

River Jayden’s Te Tihi o Kahukura for the Spotlight Series

The second work from the Spotlight series to appear in August was River Jayden‘s stunning Te Tihi o Kahukura – a contemporary piece of toi Māori, brightly coloured and alive with subtle movement. The animation appeared like water, shimmering on the wall of Te Pae and, just like its namesake Kahukura, bringing light, colour and beauty to its surroundings.

Rock Art in the Hurunui

We were lucky enough to visit a site of Māori rock art in the Hurunui District in August. A fascinating collection of iconography (apparently painted over in emulsifying paint in the early twentieth-century), it shows the long lineage of decorating our physical spaces in acts of communication, of expression and of existence. Found on private land, the rock art is not readily accessible, but is an important piece of history.

TMD x CCC

Talk about an iconic collaboration – in August we found out about this project bringing together legendary New Zealand clothing brand Canterbury Clothing Company (CCC) and urban art heavyweights, Tāmaki Makaurau crew TMD. The tough Terrain range is perfect for the urban adventurer and the upcoming collab is sure to be fire! (Image from https://www.canterburynz.com.au/terrain-i454)

That’s the list of our favourite things from August 2023 – what were some of your highlights? Let us know!

And That Was… November 2022

November brought BIG news – almost 10 years after the landmark Rise exhibition, Canterbury Museum will stage SHIFT – an urban art takeover of the iconic institution and a final hurrah to the building before redevelopment. But, this exciting news isn’t all that made November memorable! From international rock stars to small street art, summer is shaping up to be exciting!

SHIFT – Urban Art Takeover @ Canterbury Museum

Perhaps the biggest news of November was the announcement of SHIFT – Urban Art Takeover – a massive artistic takeover of the Museum, with over 50 artists transforming 5 floors of the iconic cultural institution! A completely unique exhibition, this is sure to be an unprecedented event!

Dcypher @ Chiwahwah

A fresh new work appeared along the lively Terrace strip in the central city in November, with a striking Mexican-inspired anamorphic mural by local legend Dcypher on Chiwahwah Cantina’s exterior wall. The mural stretches along the wall and is best viewed from a specific vantage point – make sure you find it!

Ikarus goes small…

Dcypher’s DTR crewmate was also busy, but at a different scale, with a series of small urban diorama’s covertly placed around the city. The grimy settings like tiny stage sets that blend into the surrounding environment.

Archetypes @Fiksate

Archetypes, a collaborative show by Dr Suits and Jessie Rawcliffe ran through November at Fiksate Gallery. The alluring paintings combine Rawcliffe’s stunningly meticulous portraits with Dr Suits’ dynamic abstraction, the results forming a beautiful suite of works that illuminated new readings of each artist.

Klaudia Bartos @ TyanHAUS

Another exhibition that we loved in November was Klaudia Bartos’ Haus of Heads at TyanHAUS in Sydenham. The beguiling series of surreal, devilish visages, produced mediums ranging from watercolour to fabric, were haunting and intriguing, inviting closer inspection…

And a Bonus…

Normally And That Was… is capped at five entries, but I couldn’t leave the return of live gigs by international artists returning to Christchurch! I may have missed UK band Idles, but a week later I was able to witness an impressive performance by US alt legend Jack White, and, it is safe to say, I’m glad I did! There was a request for no videos, so the video below will make do to replicate the energetic opener Taking Me Back

They were out highlights from November 2022 – what were yours? Let us know in the comments!

And That Was… October 2022

October is a month that keeps you guessing. The weather is still likely to throw a few curve balls, and people tend to not know if they are still in a mid-year blitz or are creeping towards the end of the year wind-down. It feels like this unpredictable manner extends to the art in the streets, with surprises popping up in the form of both small additions and large projects. October 2022 kicked off with the Christchurch Hip Hop Summit, saw a refresh for the Berlin Wall, and provided a range of little surprises in between. So, let’s have a look at what we loved in October…

The Dance-O-Mat gets a facelift…

Gap Filler’s iconic Dance-O-Mat had already made itself known in it’s new home on Manchester Street, but in October, it got a brighter spruce-up when the Christchurch Hip Hop Summit Graffiti Jam painted the walls of the site with traditional pieces and characters by Tepid, YSEK, Meep, Drows, Xact and APEK. Additionally, the temporary wall was unveiled as a paste-up site, with the wood covered by the Slap City collective.

DTR X FILTH Crews Collab

In addition to the Dance-O-Mat Graffiti Jam, the Cathedral Square section of Spark Lane also got some new art courtesy of a collaborative production between the FILTH crew and DTR. Coordinated by Ikarus as an additional element of the Hip Hop Summit, the jam featured some Christchurch graffiti royalty in a Simpsons/Masters of the Universe mash-up themed production. With the site now opened and more visible, the painting is a timely addition and reminder of the talented local scene.


Now What Belongs Together, Will Grow Together, Bols on the Berlin Wall

Local stencil artist Bols refreshed the west-facing side of the Berlin Wall in Rauora Park. The text-based painting, based on a quote from German politician Willy Brandt, continues the artist’s investigation of words as image. The layered text in reds, orange, yellow and white, echo not only the German flag, but also the flames of protest, a reminder of what it takes to break down walls.

Complementary Summoning Spot

Right next to the Berlin Wall, we also found one of our favourite pieces of street art, if it can be called as such – perhaps it is more aptly described as an activation – of the dead! Cinder’s Complementary Summoning Spot, seeingly installed by Archfiend, is an urban ouija board, adding a spiritual twist to the streets, and daring passers-by to scratch that supernatural itch!

Sam and Sandra…

To sign off on October, we take a very different direction, a much more wholesome example of urban inscription. Is there anything more heart-warming than a declaration of friendship inscribed for posterity? Sam and Sandra are BFF’s and they have committed that to the world, in fact, the world would be that much better if we all displayed that kind of earnestness…

They were our favourite things from October, what were yours? Let us know in the comments!

And That Was… July 2022

Well, that was… damp. July was very much the heart of winter, cold nights and wet days. These are not prime conditions for art making outdoors, but that doesn’t mean that there weren’t plenty of opportunities to engage with some good stuff inside, in the warmth of some of our favourite galleries, hospo spots and venues. In addition, there were a few patches of that brilliant, hopeful mid-winter sun to enjoy and take advantage of with excursions out into our streets. Here are some of the things that caught our eyes, our hearts and our attention…

Pener’s Vacation From Reality @ Fiksate

A whirlwind residency by Polish artist Pener at Fiksate Gallery culminated with his stunning exhibition Vacation From Reality – a collection of vibrant, fractured, dynamic canvas works and some seriously beautiful prints. The weather may not have come to the party, but Pener definitely did, highlighting the incredible talent that has emerged in Poland over the last decade and more, and illuminating the striking trajectories of graffiti’s evolution into abstraction…

Scratch Building with Ghostcat

The wet July school holidays were a perfect opportunity for a group of local rangatahi to learn from scratch-building master Ghostcat at the incredible 4C Centre at the YMCA on Hereford Street. An amazing array of builds were created that celebrated the beauty of the urban environment…

Angry Garf

I mean, who isn’t a sucker for the Darkest Timeline? (I could never hate lasagne though)

The Little Street Art Festival Treasure Hunt

We thought we would celebrate our successful Boost Ōtautahi campaign (thanks to all our amazing supporters!) with a little treasure hunt – two hand-stencilled signs dispersed across the city for people to find. We still don’t know who found these guys, and we think our little mascot needs a name – any ideas?

Weasels Ripped My Flesh

At the first sign of a sunny Saturday in late July, we headed to Moon Under Water in Cashmere for a quick drink with some mates (you can’t go wrong with their stonking selection) and we couldn’t help but shout out Weasels Ripped My Flesh, a collaboration APA by Moon Unit and Altitude Brewing – with some Frank Zappa inspired artwork by our pals Ghostcat and Nick Lowry!

What things kept you warm and dry through July? Let us know in the comments…