Living in the South Island of Aotearoa, American band The Decemberists’ song July, July was always confusing, the upbeat tempo a far cry from the rainy cold I was surrounded by. Likewise, this time of year can often feel loaded with FOMO, the Northern Hemisphere, bathed in warm weather (in some cases too warm, thanks to the effects of climate change), is hosting festivals and festive projects, t-shirts and sun hats abound. But to dream of elsewhere is to ignore the charms of our own surroundings – and to be sure, we had some great things going on – and, of course, we all know the sun is not far away! With that anticipatory feeling in mind, here are five things that we loved this July…
The Street Art Flea Market @ The Mid Winter Session
Tāmaki Makaurau and Aotearoa urban art legend Component opened his first solo show in eight years, and first Ōtautahi exhibition, Living in a Loop, at Fiksate Gallery at the end of July. A wet Friday night (yes, there is a theme here) didn’t deter a healthy crowd from checking out the beautifully executed stencil works, many on alluringly distressed signs. A timely reflection on a range of social concerns, Living in a Loop displayed all of the traits that have made Component one of the most important figures in Aotearoa’s street art history.
Tīrama Mai @ Victoria Square
Tīrama Mai celebrated Matariki in Victoria Square with an array of light installations and productions, a lively way to warm up on a chilly July (there’s that theme again!). With creative uses of space and light ton tell a variety of indigenous narratives, Tīrama Mai is becoming an annual highlight of Matariki in Ōtautahi.
Jessie Rawcliffe kicks off the new Spotlight Project
We have already seen two Spotlight activations on the side of Te Pae – Christchurch Convention Centre, with Jacob Yikes and Dcypher’s work projected on the famous building, but now, local painter and illustrator Jessie Rawcliffe has kicked off a new iteration, with a celebratory focus on local female creatives! Supported by the Hine te Hiringa – Empowering Women fund and ChristchurchNZ, the next few months will see four talented wahine artists’ works projected onto Te Pae. Rawcliffe’s initial work, a haunting, painstakingly crafted rotation of a female face (with a surprise twist), is first up and you need to get down to Gloucester Street to see it for yourself…
What else could we finish on but the cinematic event of 2023! Whether you fall on the side of the iconic Mattel toy or the theoretical physicist, it truly is a pop culture moment!
These things made our July as sunny as any Northern Hemisphere summer, what would you add? Let us know in the comments!
Tāmaki Makaurau’s Component opened his first solo show in eight years, and first in Ōtautahi, at Fiksate Gallery on Friday, 28th July, giving Christchurch residents the chance to see one of Aotearoa’s most accomplished street artist’s work in the flesh. A founding member of the Cut Collective, Component has long been at the forefront of stencil art in New Zealand, his technical virtuosity matched with a social message that recognises the public status of urban art. Living in a Loop continued this direction, beautifully painted stencils on an array of found and recovered surfaces drawing on the monotony and complexities of life over the last few tumultuous years. From pandemics to migration, innocence to cynicism, Component’s work captures a sense of the now, all through a lens of an art form with a much longer lineage…
If you have an event or exhibition coming up – let us know by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
This edition of And That Was… was almost forgotten, such was the nature of April 2022. With March a hectic month, there was a feeling April would be quieter, but the reality was anything but relaxed. Months fly by these days, a combination of busy schedules and the constantly evolving Covid situation. April kicked off with a whirlwind trip to Tāmaki Makaurau for Ghostcat’s collaborative The Main Line exhibition at Limn Gallery, and as you might expect, a range of other adventures and encounters. On the home front, we have been launching a few new initiatives that will all become a bit clearer over the coming weeks… In the meantime, here are a few of the highlights from April!
The Main Line opening @ Limn Gallery
We boarded a flight to Auckland on the 7th of April for the opening of The Main Line, a show featuring 28 custom-built miniature trains, produced by Christchurch’s own Ghostcat, each decorated by a graffiti artist paying homage to the iconic Spacerunner carriage (artists included Dyle 52, Askew, Phat1, Berst, Morpork, Lurq, Ikarus, Dcypher, Yikes, Freak, Vents and more). The opening was packed with names from the Aotearoa graffiti scene, reminiscing over a beloved part of the local culture’s history, making for an auspicious occasion.
Street Treats in Tāmaki Makaurau
With The Main Line opening on a Friday night, the rest of the weekend was left for exploring and the chance to navigate Aotearoa’s biggest urban centre. From the Mercury Plaza to legal walls in Avondale and many spaces in between, it was a treat to stumble upon works by some real heavy hitters and discover some new forces as well. A personal highlight was stencil don Component’s beautiful ballerina in Ponsonby…
Race A2D at The Avondale Pavilion
Another highlight of the trip to Auckland was the chance to catch Race A2D painting at Te Tūtahi Auaha – The Avondale Pavilion – the process documented by the man himself Dr Berst. The Pavilion is a fantastic concept that has become a key tool in the documentation of Aotearoa’s urban art culture. I might even appear in the background of the YouTube video a few times!
Slap City Billboard Takeover
The Slap City collective keep finding amazing spots and this empty billboard is a personal favourite – it might not be as central as some of their other locations, but it has an undeniable charm, echoed in Vez’s sppon drawer and played on by teethlikescrewdriver’s massive pencil. 10/10 would visit again.
Artist Talk with Jacob Yikes @ Fiksate
Jacob Yikes’ Even in Darkness exhibition was an April highlight in itself, a bold body of work that was candid and honest while still mysterious and evocative, but the chance to sit down and discuss the process with the artist with an enthusiastic live audience at Fiksate was a perfect way to end the month. The lengthy talk was an honest insight into the artist’s practice and the influences found in Even in Darkness.
What made your list for April?Let us know in the comments… And if you have any events coming up, let us know by emailing email@example.com
Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland is a strange beast. It is the only mega-city in Aotearoa, and when you touch down from Ōtautahi it is hard to comprehend the sheer spread of the northern metropolis. While you can easily navigate Christchurch’s inner city in 15 minutes, Auckland’s urban centre seemingly sprawls on forever, with each area displaying a distinct identity. Our quick trip to Tāmaki meant we didn’t get to endlessly explore the diversity of the city, but we did get to see a fair bit of art. Of course, there is no chance we could have achieved a full coverage of the city, but what we saw, we loved. Auckland has the longest and largest history of Aotearoa graffiti and street art, so spotting a legendary figure’s name or character, whether fresh or faded, is always a possibility, but still exciting for a nerd like me, while you can always find a new name that is on the come up as well. It also has a truly urban feel, where you can get lost down alleyways, led by the trace of some preceding presence who was compelled to leave their mark. It is a real city, and it’s streets are always talking…
Where should our next postcard cover? Let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org
When we asked DJ DREAM.R to compile our And That Was… for June, we knew she would have plenty of rad things to talk about – the flip side of that is it becomes a tough task for someone who is constantly juggling projects and events to find time! Like the champion DREAM.R is though, she made time and came back to us with an amazing list of things she has loved from the last month – from creative workshops to morning raves and bubbling plans for murals in Wellington, this is most definitely the list of a true creative who spreads across the realms of making, doing and thriving! From choice-cuts that get the crowds dancing to funky pots and earrings as well as a surrounding circle of friends that guarantee wicked plans, DREAM.R was a perfect choice to recap June 2021…
Jess Johnson and M/K Press Workshops at the Christchurch Art Gallery
I recently attended a few workshops at the Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetū, including a session with artist Jess Johnson, who creates intricate otherworldly pieces that I have been drawn to for their pastel colours, symmetry and sci-fi strangeness. She does most excellent collaborations with Simon Ward and together they make their worlds come to life with virtual reality. If you ever get a chance to check this out, don’t sit on it – get involved! It was insightful to learn her techniques and inspirations and I got to play around with my own piece on the day.
I also attended another great workshop with Jane Maloney from M/K Press who brought in her risograph and showed us how it all worked. I got to create a few fun prints working in with some backgrounds she had already printed. Using the risograph was magic, and so satisfying to watch. I had no idea how it worked and now that I have had a play, I am itching for more! M/K Press’s 12-month collaboration with Fiksate Gallery, of a limited run of prints each month with a new urban artist is amazing!
I was recently asked to play an event called Morning People, which happened to be on a Thursday morning at 6:30am! Now, when I first heard about Morning People I was skeptical because, quite frankly, I am far from a morning person (more like a night owl). However, I went to the first show they did in Christchurch a while back and was surprised at how much fun I had and how refreshing it was. Leaving the club at 8am is a memory of the distant past …ye old Christchurch city life…out ze club and onto the first bus home no more!
The morning is designed to offer an early, clean one-and-a-half hour, one-DJ rave for people before they start their day. They serve coffee, fruit, protein bars, and my fav drink ‘Club Matè’ (an epic caffeinated beverage from South America). This is a recipe for the best start to the day I have experienced yet. I was buzzing all day from the energy the crowd gave me. Watching everyone just get into it and dance their lil’ butts off was so magical. From a DJ’s perspective, it was a totally nervous lead up (feeling the pressure of delivering a solid performance of dancey tuneage to full-on sober punters!) with an exciting and fun outcome where I really just had a fully focused and dedicated crowd of beautiful people who were there to move their bodies! What more could we ask for?!
Morning people are based in Auckland and they do early morning raves in Auckland, Christchurch and sometimes Wellington. Check them out and if you can do it, do it! I recommend trying it at least once to see if it’s for you!
As the Operations and Project Manager for Cosmic, I am working on a project for our Wellington store where we will be doing some murals on the store frontages. I have approached an artist for one, but they haven’t confirmed yet, so I won’t divulge (but I will say that they are one of my most favourite artists on the scene today and the work she creates is magic!). This would be for a roller door and a feature wall inside the new café/vape store. For the other roller door, I will be doing a piece with my lil’ babe of a friend Lil’ Ems, who is the heart of ‘Cute Gang’ (a worldwide gang of cute artists who share the love of street art and connections). I have no idea what we will come up with, so I cannot wait to get drawing! Ems just did a wee sign on our frontage to show we are still open throughout the renovations. We have already been tagged with ‘F**k the Police’, which we assumed would happen and may end up being a funny week of bomb tags, although I do hope the final images are respected and left as is. Wellington has some real beautiful wall coverings and it is always such a trip walking the streets and taking in the talented creations. This is less of a did-do… and more of a watch-this-space!
If anyone is interested in showing me their work and could see themselves doing a mural, please flick me some details and ideas to email@example.com – we haven’t locked anyone in yet and it could still be up for grabs if it’s a fun and suitable match (Wellington-based ideally for ease of logistics!).
Warehouse fun and Shes.cutting.shapes!
A bunch of my crew just signed a short-term lease on a warehouse right in the centre of town. We have intentions to use this space as storage for our many behind-the-scene ventures and to make a studio where we can create new works while hanging with friends. We are called ‘Clubhouse Creative’ and while I am not sure where this new venture will take us, it is super exciting to think of the possibilities! I look forward to playing around with more painting and doing some bigger murals (practice for the Welly mission – I will attempt to paint a mural on the front roller door… I’m not sure who painted the one that is on there now, but I think it’s time for a refresh…), and to make space for my Shes.cuttin.shapes projects. I have been painting pots for all of my plant friends for a few years now. I use test pots from Resene and never plan them before I put brush to pot, I trust the process and enjoy the moment! I also make earrings from molding clay and have fun with my hands making cool patterns and shapes. I haven’t quite got them to the stage of selling, most of my creations are for me and my friends… I am hoping that this space will give me the creative space to share my love of these things!
Lots of creations on the horizon!
RDU’s Slaps Collection
I play with some good friends of mine on the Rhythm Zone show on RDU 98.5FM every second Friday from 6pm to 8pm. Being in the RDU studio, I have always spent any downtime in between mixes looking deeply into their slap sticker collections from over the years. It has been built up over years and shows a long history of the humans who have passed through and/or contributed their time to the station from all walks of life within the music industry. Each individual sticker represents a gig or a musician or a label or a brand – spanning many years of goodness!