Artists take over Fairview Downs tag space

'That's not tagging, it's fabulous'

JENNA LYNCH
Last updated 08:27 04/02/2014
graffiti art
Mark Taylor/Fairfax NZ

Brightened burbs: The alleyway next to Black Swallow Tattoo shop in Fairview Downs has been given a makeover. Tattoo shop store manager Mackenzie Denham, owner Hamish Forsyth and tattoo artist E admire the work.

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An alleyway that was once a magnet for troublemaking taggers has been transformed by graffiti artists.

For three years, Rittie Kee spent her mornings patrolling her neighbourhood and cleaning up the mess left by taggers, but thanks to a local tattoo studio, those days are over.

"I didn't see it properly until yesterday morning. I saw something the night before and I thought: Oh no someone's been at it again.

"But I went back in the daylight and it's was awesome. That's not tagging, it's fabulous," Mrs Kee said.

To celebrate its second birthday, The Black Swallow tattoo studio in Fairview Downs held a community barbecue day, and with it came four local artists, who painted the shop's blank wall.

"We'd been trying to get someone to paint the wall and they came along and away they went," store manager Mackenzie Denham said.

And although the artwork only hit the wall on Saturday, it has already gained a huge amount of support.

"Everyone that's walked past says that it's great," Miss Denham said. "It's really brightened up the alleyway."

It was an alleyway that needed it. Tagbusters were there frequently and Mrs Kee had gathered a troupe of young boys who she paid to help her clean up the mess.

She is delighted that she no longer has to keep checking the alleyway for rogue scribbles as it was quite scary.

"I never had anyone hit me but I had two or three men that were very abusive," she said. "But that's slowly changed in the last couple of years. One of them even came to apologise to me."

And as for any cheeky taggers still roaming the neighbourhood with spray cans in hand, Miss Denham said she was confident they would stay away from the masterpiece.

"We're very confident that it's not going to be defaced."

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- Waikato Times

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