Pimping out the plaza

Last updated 05:00 10/03/2014
Cracked Ink aka Simon Ormerod
URBAN ART: Cracked Ink aka Simon Ormerod of Ahuroa, north of Auckland, illuminates Huatoki Lane with his cartoon characters. Street art changes perceptions and people’s way of thinking, he says.

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New Plymouth's first street art festival has converted the city's "concrete jungle" plaza into a feast of colour.

In just three days of the Get Up Urban Street Art Festival, its 30 artists have transformed much of the Huatoki Plaza into an outdoor art gallery.

Crowds of people took advantage of the perfect weather for the inaugural event and came out in force to admire and comment.

North Taranaki Community Arts Council member Jan Huijbers, himself an artist, said the colourful event enhanced what was a concrete jungle.

"It's excellent. I'm really happy with it."

Tullia Cutler, 16, spent all three days watching the artists make over their allocated spaces.

"New Plymouth is being pimped," she said.

Petit Paris worker, Charlie Krtek, from the Czech Republic, kept an eye on progress during his breaks. He predicted the event would make a name for New Plymouth.

"I think people will remember the city. Heaps of people, a lot of them tourists, are taking pictures."

Auckland artist Elliot Stewart, who has been a street artist for a decade, was working his magic on the concrete wall alongside the lane next to the Colliers building.

He told how he was inspired by the ageing wood on the old deck on his house. But when he painted a similar fence on a fence surrounding a large construction site in Ponsonby it was removed after complaints.

"I paint a fence on a fence and a man took offence," Mr Stewart said.

Jaakko Paloheimo of Finland admired the artwork which he said was bringing the city alive, pulling in people to watch.

In Finland street art was frowned on and he was keen to see attitudes there change.

Organisers Jade Miller and partner Cameron Shennan are now keen to make Get Up a yearly event. Their aim was to build the trust of the public.

The New Plymouth District Council-approved event would now stay two weeks leading up to and after Womad.

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- Taranaki Daily News


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