New Plymouth's Huatoki Plaza lit up by 'electric' eels

New Plymouth street artist Phil Jones has mirrored the eels in the Huatoki Stream, in his latest piece at the Huatoki ...
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New Plymouth street artist Phil Jones has mirrored the eels in the Huatoki Stream, in his latest piece at the Huatoki Plaza in New Plymouth.

Electric, eclectic eels have been found at New Plymouth's Huatoki Plaza. 

New Plymouth artist Phil Jones was commissioned to create a piece beside the stream that runs through the plaza, as part of the New Plymouth District Council's ongoing initiative to brighten up the central business district. 

In an homage to the river's slippery residents, Jones painted a wall of eels "swimming" beneath the balcony of the Green Door Cafe. 

Jones said his creation was a play on colours to work in with the LED lights installed above the mural to create a fluorescent effect when lit up in the evenings. 

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Ever the perfectionist, Jones said there were things he wouldn't mind adding to or touching up, but felt the end result fit the feel of the plaza. 

"I'm pretty rapt actually. It's about 80 per cent of what I was trying to achieve."

Jones said it took him about three days to complete the artwork on scaffolding set up above the water.

Commissioning more street art for the CBD was one of the council's ideas in their Shaping the City initiative, aimed at creating a space which was interesting, inviting and drew more people into the centre of New Plymouth. 

"People love it," Jones said.

"My studio's right in the Huatoki Plaza and every day you see people crossing through taking photos of the art."

He said tourists, particularly young backpackers, had a lot of appreciation for the street art and if they came through his studio he often directed them to other places they could see it.  

The attitude around filling the city's blank walls with art had shifted, Jones said. 

"There's been a massive influx of street art and I guess it has a different connotation now - it's street art now, not graffiti." 

Council's group manager strategy Liam Hodgetts said the Shaping the City initiative was a way to build on the success of the New Plymouth CBD.

"It's just light touches to an already exciting city. It's to encourage what's already happening down there," he said. 

Council was working with more landowners and artists to find more street art opportunities, Hodgetts said.

 - Stuff

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