Masked Artist Photography Show 2024

Masked Artist Photography Show 2024 is a group show featuring eight artists from Ōtautahi and wider Aotearoa, surveying a range of photographic approaches and techniques. Hosted by The Masked Artist Gallery and Studios at their Boxed Quarter base, the show runs from June 16th to July 1st, with regular opening hours between 12pm and 6:30pm every day. Spanning traditional film, instant photos, digital and avant-garde experimental forms, the Photography Show 2024 illuminates the scope of contemporary photography as a way to capture our environments and experiences, from evocative urban landscapes to portraiture and more exploratory works that revel in textural and layered design elements. It could be argued that photography’s ubiquity and accessibility, as well as the increased platforms for sharing work, have dulled us to photography’s power, but here, poetry, mystery, craft and story-telling are at the fore, a reminder of photography’s power and potential. Masked Artist Photography Show 2024 features work by @lucas.twocus, @lifeisshortforabadlife, @cultsandmystics, @jermaineggggardner, @rhis_painter and more…

Showtime – Daken – Garage Sale with Lucky Dips @ Absolution, Monday 13 May, 2024

Like all good garage sale-rs (I’m not sure about you, but I think ‘garage sailors’ is an apt moniker, maybe we can start a trend), we rugged up and got there early for the opening of Daken’s Garage Sale with Lucky Dips at Absolution Tattoo and Piercing in the Arts Centre. A tribute to Kiwiana and nostalgia, with lots of playful mash-ups and pop culture references, Daken’s concept for a good old fashioned garage sale was imbued with his always present sense of humour and earnest drive to make things. Like any good garage sale, there were surprising treasures, with accompanying ephemera, from vintage cassette tapes to a Donkey Kong board game and a Bunnings T-Shirt, to a raft of familiar influences; Bumble, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Four Square and more. For a healthy dose of charming fun, check out Garage Sale with Lucky Dips at Absolution and pick up a few treasures!

If you have an exhibition opening coming, let us know – email us at hello@watchthisspace.org.nz

And That Was… May 2024

May, it was a month of many spinning plates. Here in Ōtautahi, there were the ongoing discussions of local politics as the city planned for our future with the Long Term Plan, but there was also Mother’s Day, Star Wars Day and, according to The Old Farmer’s Almanac, No Socks Day and Root Canal Appreciation Day (both May 8th). It is fair to say there was a lot going on. But it was also a time where we might expect outdoor art to slow down as the temperatures plummet, so what did we find and what did we love? Well, it turns out there was plenty to do and see, from exhibitions to new works, big and small, and even new ways of looking at Ōtautahi. Read on and find out what we loved in May 2024!

Daken – Garage Sale with Lucky Dips @ Absolution

Our pal Daken staged a fun solo show at Absolution, drawing on his love for childhood nostalgia, Kiwiana and bootleg goodness. Garage Sale with Luck Dips included custom toys, airbrushed vintage t-shirts and, of course, surprises wrapped in paper for punters to take a chance. Our personal favourites? Definitely the dismembered Star Wars and G.I. Joe “bootlegs”, the Thinking Ape painted on a vintage Donkey Kong board game and the customised Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles t-shirt that immediately evoked the original, practical movie costumes, altogether now, T-U-R-T-L-E Power

Ghostcat’s Leave No Trace Trail Expands…

Ghostcat‘s public trail of reminders of Ōtautahi’s past continues to grow and for many children of the 80s and 90s, the latest addition is especially memorable. The small silver disc may not be easy to spot on Gloucester Street, especially against the similarly coloured lamp post, but a closer inspection reveals it to be one of the iconic tokens from beloved video game arcade Wizards, formerly located just metres away. With more to come, it is worth exploring this touching project and the forthcoming Ghosts on Every Corner exhibition and publication…

Dcypher @ Mexicanos

Dcypher continues to remind us all of his talent with a striking addition to Mexicano’s Restaurant on Victoria Street. The radiant winged Virgin, occupying an expansive desert scene, fits perfectly with the popular eatery’s aesthetic – more please (that’s more tacos, more margaritas and more art)!

The City After Dark

As the city gets dark earlier in the evening, it is interesting to explore the art that takes on a different appearance in a vacated setting bathed in different light – like this DTR production on Manchester Street. From works illuminated by lighting to projected artworks and light installations, Ōtautahi is a surprising setting even after the sun goes down…

Love Everyone…

We couldn’t help but include this little mantra scrawled on one of the giant cans on St Asaph Street – Love Yourself, Love Everyone, Love Vampires. Sounds like good advice…

What made your May? Let us know below…

Daken – Garage Sale with Lucky Dips @ Absolution

Kiwis love a good garage sale. Maybe it is the curiosity. Maybe it is the potential nostalgia. Maybe it is the chance to rifle through someone’s discarded belongings in the hope of finding a unique treasure. Maybe we just love the thought of a bargain that cuts out the middle man.

Ōtautahi creative Daken, known for his bootleg toys and funky, humorous illustrative style, is drawing on the power of garage sales to inspire his forthcoming show Garage Sale with Lucky Dips, opening May 13th at Absolution. Daken describes the show as an exhibition of nostalgia, Kiwiana, trash and treasures, all presented through the lens of a good old fashioned garage sale. We caught up with Daken ahead of the show to find out what we can expect and how the idea came to fruition…

I know you are always busy making, creating and generally tinkering, but when was your last solo show?
I had my first solo show way back in 2021, on my birthday actually, which was pretty exciting. That show was almost exclusively a bootleg toy show (with the exception of a couple paintings). I had only been in the toy-making scene for a year at that stage so I wanted to really push what I was doing in that space. I feel like Garage Sale is more integrated with everything else I do, coming together for a more varied experience.

How did the idea for Garage Sale come to you? I know you have an Instagram profile that focusses on handmade garage sale signs…
Absolution asked if I woukld like to have a show there (shout out to Rochelle!). I always have show concepts and ideas popping up in my head. The Garage Sale idea had been fermenting for a wee while, and given the opportunity at Absolution, it felt right. I do indeed run an Instagram profile that posts pictures of garage sale signs, I started it back in 2019. Garage sales have always had a special place in my heart. Having a background in graffiti, the idea of guerrilla marketing through a kind of typographic graffiti folk art really interested me. No one sign is the same, they are always made with random materials, and the focus is to just get the message across: ‘Come here, on this date, to look through my old crap and give me cash for it.’ I felt at the time that I needed to document them because, like graffiti, they are such a temporary thing. The Instagram page (@garagesails) was a big seed that helped lead to this show.

What can we expect to find at Garage Sale with Lucky Dips?
A Lot of trash, treasure and nostalgia, haha! The show started with the idea of garage sales but slowly evolved into sub genres of nostalgia and identity through the lens of Kiwiana. So, you can expect to see all of these ideas drawn on paper, painted on items, displayed on thrifted clothes, made into toys from other recycled and broken toys and much more…

It sounds like Garage Sale will reflect your diverse practice…
I like to think of myself as a jack-of all-trades, master-of-none when it comes to my work. Jumping between materials, mediums and ideas has always been my thing. I use the name Daken’s Emporium because I can’t seem to stick to one thing. The idea of emporiums and garage sales seems to fit the way my work in general is very eclectic in nature. I get an odd feeling, dare I say a sense of magic, when there is a culmination of things that come together to make a bigger narrative. I love how everything has its own history, has a story of when it was made and how it came to be in some place with other things that can be so different, somehow all winding up in the same place… Did I just describe the human experience?! One of the biggest challenges that kicks at the anxieties in the back of my head is it all not working. I look at my contemporaries and other artists and wish that I could pick something and stick with it. But the truth is, trying new things is always fun and exciting for me. So defining my own personal style and voice within so many avenues of work, while challenging, is in the end, who I am.

Do you have final message for people who might want to come and see Garage Sale?
For those that intend on coming to the show, have a fun time! I hope I have managed to capture at least a small fraction of that magic I talked about, even for a short period before it’s all separated and taken down, just like a garage sale sign. Also, come say what’s up! I would love to chat about the work, hear your thoughts, and discuss who you think would win in a fight between Swamp Thing and Superman! Oh, and don’t forget to pick up a lucky dip!

Daken’s Garage Sale with Lucky Dips opens on Monday 13th May, 6pm – 8pm, at Absolution Tattoo and Piercing, The Arts Centre – Te Matatiki Toi Ora

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!

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!

Component’s Living in a Loop @ Fiksate Gallery, Friday, 28th July, 2023

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…

The Viral Huntress, 2023
A good crowd gathered at Fiksate Gallery for Living in a Loop
While it may have been cold outside, the good vibes warmed every up…
Desensitised to the State of War, 2023
The Liberation Equation, 2023
Hope’s Silent Echo, 2023
Digital Refuge, 2023

If you have an event or exhibition coming up – let us know by emailing hello@watchthisspace.org.nz

SHOWTIME! Jacob Yikes – Escapism @ Fiksate, Friday 31 March

Jacob Yikes’ latest offering, Escapism, opened at Fiksate at the end of March. Yikes has been consistently producing a coherent and yet constantly evolving body of work for the last decade, each new show adding elements and refining his methods and concerns. Escapism, a series of 8 paintings, feels like the work of an artist who is at the top of their game. The paintings, full of gestural flashes, subtle touches and haunting imagery, are alive, directing the viewer further into the realm the artist has been diligently constructing, created with an undeniable confidence. Our friend, the talented Lydia Hannah Thomas, was there on opening night to capture the crowds and the sublime body of work, enjoy!

Photo Credits: Lydia Hannah Thomas

If you have a show coming up, let us know – we would love to cover it here on SHOWTIME!

Showtime! Liminal Beings @ TyanHAUS, Friday 18 February 2023

Friday, 18th February saw the opening of the collaborative exhibition Liminal Beings – a collection of work by Jonny Waters, Dark Ballad (Joe Clark) and teethlikescrewdrivers at TyanHAUS. While the mix may not seem like an obvious one, the infusion of pop and urban culture – from Dark Ballad’s skateboard decks referencing iconic cinema (the carpet of the Overlook Hotel a particular favourite), to Waters’ remixed album cover paintings and, of course, teethlikescrewdrivers’ treasure trove of repurposed objects, from old maps to place mats, cricket bats and more, provided a sense of chaotic unity. The placement of each artists’ work interspersed rather than delineated into separate sections added to the overall effect. With aspects of typography, punky, gestural expressionism, and clean, graphic design work, Liminal Beings had something for everyone. We headed along to check it out…

Nothing like a doodle board when you are inspired…
Rather than each artist having a defined space, all three artists’ works were intermingled through the space…
teethlikescrewdrivers, 2023
teethlikescrewdrivers, The Kaikouras, 2023
Jonny Waters, Electric Warrior, 2023
Jonny Waters, London Calling, 2023
Dark Ballad, The Terminator, 2023
Dark Ballad, The Shining, 2023

If you have a show coming up, please let us know – email hello@watchthisspace.org.nz or contact us on social media @watchthisspacechch and we can share your creative goodness!

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!