Arts & Entertainment
Wellingtonians may have been intrigued to see a purple human-sized lizard contorting and crawling around Cuba St with a sign reading, "You may help to feed this animal".
Behind the costume is 23-year-old Newtown local KBG Purple, who created the purple lizard character to raise awareness and funds for animal welfare and conservation.
The self-employed contortionist, actor and stretching instructor will pose in a lizard-like position in Cuba St or on the waterfront most weekends, for hours at a time.
He said when a donation was made, he would move from a statue position to taking on the movements of a lizard.
"Contortion is quite animal in itself; the way a lizard crawls is not too far a cry from how a contortionist moves."
The avid animal lover always wondered if there was a way he could use two of his loves - animals and the circus - to do something to help conservation and wildlife.
"I started doing this because I love it. But as my love and respect for the art grew, I discovered there were so many ways it could be used."
Helping animals through the circus was ironic, Mr Purple said, because the industry was sometimes seen to be connected with the "old-fashioned notion" of animals being mistreated.
Donations made to the purple lizard were passed on to organisations such as Wellington Zoo, Orana Wildlife Park in Christchurch, and World Wildlife Fund.
At this stage, donating the money is a personal venture, because he is not connected to any of the organisations specifically.
Mr Purple moved to Wellington in January, when the concept of the purple lizard was in the planning stage.
The purple lizard first appeared in Cuba St in September.
Mr Purple grew up in what he described as a highly musical and theatrical family and started playing the violin and guitar when he was two.
He always had a childhood dream of running away to join the circus.
At 16 he started training at Circo Arts, a part of Christchurch Polytech.
He said as his training progressed, he realised he had an unusually bendy spine, so trained to become a contortionist.
Since moving to Wellington, he has been training and teaching at the Wellington Circus Trust.
Mr Purple can also be booked for parties. For information, see his website at mrpurple.co.nz.
- The Wellingtonian