Artists to transform city

CHARLIE GATES
Last updated 05:00 14/12/2013

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A dozen of the best street artists from New Zealand and Australia are getting ready to make Christchurch's city centre a more colourful place.

Drab concrete walls in the city centre will be transformed into stunning colourful vistas as part of the RISE street art festival that begins next week.

The festival also includes a major street art exhibition at the Canterbury Museum opening on Friday. The exhibition will feature one of the largest private collections of Banksy artworks in the world, work by international and local street artists, and new work by Australian artist Ian Strange.

RISE festival director George Shaw said street art could help enliven Christchurch's new tilt slab buildings.

"Christchurch needs something to set itself apart. With so much tilt slab concrete going up, putting amazing street art on walls is the most cost effective way of transforming something that looks quite bland into an amazing vista."

"It transforms it into something quite special."

Shaw said the new street art could help draw tourists to Christchurch.

"There are a lot of things happening around the city by some of the best street artists from this part of the world. It is really, really cool."

"If we can keep that ball rolling, we could get a lot of tourism in the city for street art. It will get international attention and draw people to the city."

Shaw said Bristol, in England, and Melbourne have both benefited from street art tourism.

Most of the street artists will start painting walls from Tuesday next week.

New Zealand street artist Eno, who is taking on a large wall on Colombo St, said he was very excited about the festival.

"Street art brightens up the place and has a massive impact on people. I think, after the earthquakes and with the rebuild happening, this will be massive in Christchurch."

"The artists coming to Christchurch are some of the best street artists from around the world. I can't believe all these artists are coming to New Zealand. It is such an exciting time for Christchurch."

"It is art for people. It uplifts and engages people."

Belgian street artist ROA is also coming to Christchurch to take on a wall later this month.

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- The Press

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