Street artists in with the big names

Capital street art attracts world attention

ELLE HUNT
GENERAL REPORTER
Last updated 05:00 23/10/2012
Photographer James Gilberd says documenting street art is valuable
KENT BLECHYNDEN/Fairfax NZ
FLEETING THING: Photographer James Gilberd says documenting street art is valuable as it is, by its nature, temporary.

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Their sky-high stencils and playful posters brighten up back alleys throughout the city - and now Wellington street art has attracted international attention.

A new book features Kiwi street artists BMD, the Auckland duo behind the large, colourful murals in the urban area east of Cuba St, and Wellington-based poster artist Toothfish.

Their works sit alongside big names like British street artist Banksy.

London-based photographer Garry Hunter's Street Art: From Around the World is a showcase of paint, poster, stencil and 3D works from England, Germany, North America, Brazil, West Africa and New Zealand.

Owhiro Bay artist Bruce Mahalski, whose murals of native wildlife can be seen in Vivian and Hopper streets, and a collaboration between Wellington street artists Editor, Ghostie and PNTR, also appear.

The artists prefer to keep their identities secret because of street art's questionable legal status.

James Gilberd, of the Photospace gallery in Courtenay Place, which is exhibiting Toothfish's work until November 3, supplied many of the photographs of the Wellington works featured in Hunter's book.

The street artists featured in the book belonged to "the big league", he said. "There's some big, worldwide names in there.

"I mean, everybody's heard of Banksy. It transcends street art."

Documenting street art was important because of its transient nature.

"The Toothfish posters only stay around for a few days before they get posted over.

"Even the murals have a lifespan - the building gets knocked down, another mural covers it, or they just repaint the wall.

"It's good to record it because in 10 years probably none of this stuff will be there."

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- The Dominion Post

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