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!

Spotlight – the moving image…

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!

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!

And That Was… April 2022

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!

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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.

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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 hello@watchthisspace.org.nz

 

Showtime! Jacob Yikes – Even in Darkness, Fiksate Gallery, April 1st, 2022

Jacob Yikes latest body of work, Even in Darkness, was unveiled at Fiksate Gallery on Friday, April 1st. The first solo show for the artist since 2018’s Bad Company (held at Fiksate’s former Gloucester Street premises), a reflection of the long road these paintings followed to realisation. A stunning collection of gestural, detailed, evocative and deeply resonant works, the crowd were enthralled by the incredibly honest, yet mysterious paintings. Drawn from the personal exploration of psychedelics to expand his consciousness and break his sense of ego, the paintings are an otherworldy experience…

All photos courtesy of Fiksate Gallery.

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Even in Darkness runs until April 30th at Fiksate Gallery, 54 Hawdon Street, Sydenham

Tune! with Jacob Yikes

In preparation for his upcoming exhibition Even in Darkness (opening at Fiksate on April 1st, 2022), I was lucky enough to sit down with Jacob Yikes and chew the fat over not just the new work he was getting ready to present, but a range of topics. Music was inevitably on the table, and it has long been known how central music is to Yikes’ creative practice (from song titles used for shows and works, to his choice of accompanying soundtracks for exhibitions), serving as a constant companion to his work.

When I asked him to put together a playlist for Tune! he jumped at the chance and sent me a list of a dozen songs within a day. Then he sent me a new list the following day. It was clear how much of a role music plays in his process and life. The music is, much like his art, evocative and transcendental, smooth and yet dark. From Miles Davis to Mara TK and a choice cut of independent hip hop and jazzy down beats, this is a truly killer playlist that needs no lengthy introduction…

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Mara TK –Highly Medicated

Blockhead – Give Them Their Flowers

Khruangbin X Knxwledge – Dearest Alfred (My Joy)

Blu – amnesia

Skyzoo – Free Jewelry

Med, Blu, Madlib, feat. Anderson Paak – The Strip

Ivan Ave –Phone Won’t Charge

eLZhi, feat. Royce da 5’9 – Motown 25

Oh No- Elegant Smoke

@peace –Fine Night

The Doppelgängaz –Boston Beard

Miles Davis – Blue in Green

Even in Darkness, a selection of paintings by Jacob Yikes will run from April 1 to April 30 at Fiksate Gallery, 54 Hawdon Street, Sydenham

Street Treats, Vol. 5

This edition of Street Treats is eclectic and varied, ranging from playful whimsy to blunt anti-establishment messaging. That ultimately is the beauty of guerrilla practice (or in the case of some of these works, permissioned but free from curatorial censorship), the opportunity to say what you want, how you want. As contemporary muralism has taken over the popular image of ‘street art’, it has also transformed the imagery and ideology deployed. While this still results in some pretty stunning works occupying our skylines and there are, admittedly, different levels of input and freedom, it is left to the smaller interventions to speak in an unfiltered voice. The content is not always explicitly political, but the act itself is, always. So whether it is a beautiful surreal flower sprouting from a concrete pillar,  a constantly recurring pencil, playfully collaged scenarios, vibrant names or scrawled messages that question the colonial history of our city, look and listen, they are speaking to you and about us…

If you have submissions for upcoming Street Treats volumes tag us on Instagram or email your pictures to hello@watchthisspace.org.nz!

Jacob Yikes – Angels, Aliens and Archetypes @ Chambers Gallery

With 2020 proving completely unpredictable, it seems like forever has passed since I sat down with Jacob Yikes to talk about a show he had in the works for 2020. At that time, we were completely unaware of the challenges the year would bring. However, now, finally and with just weeks remaining of 2020, Yikes’ latest body of work goes on display at Chambers Gallery. Angels, Aliens and Archetypes opens on Tuesday December 8th and runs until December 24th. The small collection of work is both a extension and departure from Yikes’ previous output, continuing the exploration of altered states and other spaces, while expanding his material approach and stylistic detail. As Yikes continues to grow and his work becomes increasingly layered and sophisticated, Angels, Aliens and Archetypes is another progression for one of Christchurch’s most distinctive talents.

Angels, Aliens and Archetypes opens 5pm, Tuesday December 8th at Chambers Gallery, 241 Moorhouse Avenue.

Alongside Angels, Aliens and Archetypes is also a presentation of work by Ben Reid.

 

Highlight – Street Art Street Party

If you follow us on social media, you will know by now that we are super excited about Saturday’s Highlight street art party! That excitement is for good reason, as Highlight is shaping up as one of the most impressive urban art events the city has seen in several years. Hosted by a number of SALT District businesses, and occupying SALT Square and nearby locations, the one-night only party is a result of the collaboration between a number of entities, including Oi YOU!, the masterminds behind the massively popular Rise and Spectrum festivals, as well as the recent SALT mural produced by Dcypher and Paul Walters of Identity Signs.

Dcypher and Paul Walters, with Oi YOU!, SALT Mural, SALT Square, 2019
Dcypher and Paul Walters, with Oi YOU!, SALT Mural, SALT Square, 2019

Speaking of Dcypher, the recently relocated artist (having returned from a decade long stint living and working in Los Angeles) will be joined by his DTR crewmates, Ikarus, Wongi and JacobYikes in painting live at Highlight and producing a pop-up gallery of their work. Another pop-up gallery space will be created by the city’s leading purveyors of urban contemporary art, Fiksate, who will present work from their impressive collection. On top of that, Nelson’s Shady Collective (of Spectrum infamy) will present demonstration stalls for screen-printing, t-shirt and stencil-making, giving punters the opportunity to both make and take pieces!

Ikarus and Dcypher, Christchurch, 2019
Ikarus and Dcypher, Christchurch, 2019

Being that urban culture extends beyond graffiti and street art, there will also be live music (thanks to Bassfreaks and RDU DJs), food and drink (from the Little High Eatery and surrounding restaurants) and retail pop-ups of street wear from some of the city’s leading urban fashion masters, including Hunters and Collectors, Curb and The Recycle Boutique. Oh, and did we mention that once the official street party winds up, there are multiple after party options, from The Retropolitan to Smash Palace, The Slate Room and Dux Central.

Fiksates 2016 show CAPD, photo credit Charlie Rose Creeative
Fiksate’s 2016 show CAPD, photo credit Charlie Rose Creative

And of course, another of the ‘Highlights’ will be the live video projection animation of the SALT mural, the first of it’s scale in Ōtautahi. This is sure to be an impressive, eye-catching activation of one of Christchurch’s newest pieces of street art muralism.

Highlight will kick-off at 5pm on Saturday at SALT Square on Tuam Street and is free entry. For more information, check out the event page on Facebook.

And That Was… April 2019

This month, we are stoked to welcome a guest contributor to our And That Was… series: the man behind the Instagram feed Rubble City (@rubblecity), Gavin Fantastic. The idea of this series is to cover a wide selection of what’s happening in Christchurch’s urban art scenes, so it was natural to throw our net wider and make use of those people, like Gavin, with their fingers, and cameras, on the pulse. Rubble City is a go-to feed for fresh, and often highly temporary, pieces of art across Christchurch. So, what has been on Gavin’s radar in April? Read on to find out…

  1. Hambone

Local artist Hambone is certainly setting the scene alight lately with his neo-trad style characters. From pumas with snakes to gorillas armed with bananas, the characters are certainly eye-catching.

Hambone, Christchurch, 2019 (photo credit: Gavin Fantastic)
Hambone, Christchurch, 2019 (photo credit: Gavin Fantastic)

Hambone, Hereford Street, Christchurch, 2019 (photo credit: Gavin Fantastic)
Hambone, Hereford Street, Christchurch, 2019 (photo credit: Gavin Fantastic)

  1. Go Hard or Go Home

As the nights get longer the ability to lurk in the shadows also increases for those smashing the scene.

Two artists who have been dropping nasty steez are V-Rod and Vesyl.  It has been interesting watching the style of these two artists evolve over the last couple of years from tags and rollers, to the next level pieces seen this April.

VESYL, YMCA, Hereford Street, Christchurch, 2019 (photo credit: Gavin Fantastic)
VESYL, YMCA, Hereford Street, Christchurch, 2019 (photo credit: Gavin Fantastic)

VROD, Christchurch, 2019 (photo credit: Gavin Fantastic)
VROD, Christchurch, 2019 (photo credit: Gavin Fantastic)

  1. International Visitors

Our walls have been graced with additions by painters from afar this month. Showing how the other side of the world gets down were two of Europe’s finest. Resr47 was throwing down snow-capped letters from the Swiss Alps, while Desur managed to fit in a couple of Hamburg burners during his stint at local tattoo studio Otautahi Tattoo.

RESR47, Hereford Street, Christchurch, 2019 (photo credit: Gavin Fantastic)
RESR47, Hereford Street, Christchurch, 2019 (photo credit: Gavin Fantastic)

DESUR, YMCA, Hereford Street, Christchurch, 2019, (photo credit:  Gavin Fantastic)
DESUR, YMCA, Hereford Street, Christchurch, 2019, (photo credit: Gavin Fantastic)

DESUR, Christchurch, 2019 (photo credit: Gavin Fantastic)
DESUR, Christchurch, 2019 (photo credit: Gavin Fantastic)

  1. Jacob Yikes Pop-Up

Situated next to World on High Street, Yikes’ pop-up shop hit my Insta feed (and my wallet!) this month.  The man from DTR is selling both originals and prints in a space that is occupied for the next few months selling eclectic furniture. Check it out and support your local artist!

Jacob Yikes' pop-up shop, High Street,  central Christchurch, 2019 (photo credit: Gavin Fantastic)
Jacob Yikes’ pop-up shop, High Street, central Christchurch, 2019 (photo credit: Gavin Fantastic)

  1. RIP Jungle

As featured in the ‘And that was  … March’ blog post, we saw the passing of local O.G. Jungle. Tributes have been popping up all over Christchurch City and around the world. I’ll sign off with a tribute piece from two other 03 O.Gs – Yikes & Ikarus.

Yikes and Ikarus, Jungle tributes, Christchurch, 2019 (photo credit: Gavin Fantastic)
Yikes and Ikarus, Jungle tributes, Christchurch, 2019 (photo credit: Gavin Fantastic)

Follow Gavin on Instagram (@rubblecity), and keep an eye out for more guest contributors in the coming months…