Oi You! Urban art show excites overseas visitors

Australian street artist Damon King was like a kid in a candy store at Oi You! yesterday.

Mr King and his partner, Debbie Gane, came to Nelson especially for the urban art show in the Energy Centre at Founders Heritage Park, after finding out about it online.

Oi You! organiser George Shaw said they were among a growing number of people from outside Nelson who were coming to check it out.

Mr Shaw said people were coming from all over the country and overseas, having heard about it through word of mouth – including a couple from the United Kingdom.

King, who lives in Brisbane, quit his long-term job in a warehouse four months ago to focus on making street art.

"I woke up one morning and said to Debbie, `I'm going to quit my job' and she said, `OK'.

"I watched Exit Through the Gift Shop – a Banksy movie – the next day and just overtook the garage."

King and Ms Gane came to New Zealand for a holiday after his first exhibition last month.

"We flew to Wellington, spent five hours in a dodgy hotel, hired a campervan and came straight here – I was like a kid in a candy shop.

"I have seen Banksy's works before, but never this close. It's like street art porn. I love it."

King goes by the alias Skullcap and makes a variety of works, sometimes by using stencils and photographs.

"I like to make people think a bit about what they're looking at. It's not everyone's cup of tea."

Oi You! runs until the end of the Nelson Arts Festival and is expected to draw about 15,000 people. Oi You! competition pieces, made by up-and-coming street artists from across New Zealand, are finished and will be auctioned at the Energy Centre on October 24.

The Nelson Mail