Artist finally makes his mark on coveted blank canvas

SARAH DUNN
Last updated 13:00 23/01/2014
Jon Drypnz
MARION VAN DIJK/Fairfax NZ

LARGER THAN LIFE: Jon Drypnz works on his mural in St Vincent St, on the wall of a warehouse.

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Those passing through Toi Toi today may have spotted five striking new residents in St Vincent St.

The 6-metre humanesque figures on the side of Carol Hargadon's warehouse were painted this week by artist Jon Drypnz , 26. The piece is named "OWAR - acronym".

Asked what the piece meant, Jon said it was inspired by the Monty Python comedy sketch Ministry of Silly Walks. He prefers to use his artist name in place of his surname.

Recently returned from five months overseas, the former Nelson resident is known for his many prominent works that cover Wellington's streets, alleyways, and buildings.

Among the most recognisable is a figure riding a bicycle which spans several storeys of a building in Courtenay Place, but the three-storey mural covering Abel Smith St's Tattoo Apartments is stiff competition.

During his travels, Jon painted in the United Kingdom, Germany, Croatia, Italy, Poland, Southeast Asia and other locations.

He said his art developed over this time, saying the many new projects encouraged him to work in a more fluid style.

Jon said he had coveted the Nelson warehouse's wall as a canvas for more than two years, saying he had to be persistent to track down Mrs Hargadon's contact details and gain her approval. The artwork was created with the knowledge of Nelson City Council.

Mrs Hargadon runs her home-staging business Refine and Redesign from the building. She said the blank wall had been "not very exciting", and she had enjoyed watching Jon bring his figures to life.

"I think it's a great idea. It was a sad wall, and we like art in the community."

Jon said he appreciated Belgian artist ROA's work in central Nelson, saying there were more than enough walls in Nelson to accommodate work by both foreign and local artists.

"I've done the exact same thing as ROA [by painting murals in other countries] so it's not an issue. It's only ever a good thing."

Jon said Nelson was "a good place to be for the summer", and he planned to leave a few more marks on the city's blank spaces before returning overseas in a few months.

"If you want to do something, there's always a way."

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- The Nelson Mail

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