Quirky matchbox art in online auction

00:14, Feb 28 2013
Putin Riot: This matchbox by Milton Springsteen was inspired by Pussy Riot.

A pom-pommed Vladimir Putin in a pink box, a friendly monster, and an X-ray view of a kiwi are among the artworks up for grabs in an online exhibition of mini canvases.

The decorated 5 centimetre by 7cm Beehive matchboxes are being auctioned on Trade Me alongside about 50 others until March 8 to raise money for Amnesty International.

The tiny artworks are also on display at a small gallery in Auckland, the Museum of the Vernacular, until this Saturday.

George Shaw and Shannon Webster
KIWI X-RAY: By Nelson couple and urban art enthusiasts George Shaw and Shannon Webster.

Amnesty International spokesperson Chloe Vaughan said the exhibition entitled Strike was "a little quirky", and people had sent in some amazing creations.

The matchbox artworks were created by various artists, designers, and musicians, including Lucy Lawless, Annah Stretton, Dave Dobbyn, Tiki Taane, and Jon Toogood.

Kiwi X-Ray is by Nelson couple and urban art enthusiasts George Shaw and Shannon Webster, and Monster Box is by Nelson artist, designer and illustrator Anna Johnstone.


Mr Shaw said he and Ms Webster created Kiwi X-Ray together about six months ago.

"We have done a little bit with Amnesty previously. We like the whole idea of [the organisation], and to help if we can," he said.

"I think it's basically a Photoshop job, that we then pasted on. We put something in the matchbox as well. It might have been a broken drill head."

Mr Shaw said they also arranged for mysterious New Zealand street artist Milton Springsteen, who had works in the Oi! You! show in 2011, to enter a piece.

Putin Riot was inspired by last year's events surrounding Pussy Riot - a Russian feminist punk-rock collective.

"It's all handpainted," Mr Shaw said. "He [Springsteen] is a proper artist - not like us.

"I think he handpainted it over an image of Putin's face."

Johnstone was invited to join the matchbox exhibition, after taking part in an Amnesty International art auction last year.

"I think it's quite cute. There are heaps of really different ones," she said.

Johnstone said she used markers to draw her monster on to the small matchbox, which was "a bit tricky".

"I wanted to do something funny. When you push the box open, he's actually naked inside," she said.

Amnesty International public campaigns manager Mo Farrell said the organisation wanted to do something quirky, Kiwi, and relevant.

"The Amnesty candle is famous for shining a light into the darkest places, but without the humble match, the candle would remain unlit," she said.

The Trade Me auctions close on March 8.