Best street art

Ross Liew, Managing Director of Trustme Ltd and curator of New Zealand's premier street art festival Graffiato, describes his five favourite pieces of street art in Taupo.

Misery and Mica Still

The inaugural event. This was really breaking new ground as there hadn't been an event quite like this in New Zealand. I really loved* the collaborative work by Mica Still and Misery. The first Graffiato featured a number of collaborations but this one saw a really well established artist in Misery work alongside Mica who had never really painted a wall before. I already loved her art having seen her exhibition work and really wanted to see her make something bigger!

*Unfortunately this work no longer exists and was replaced with a new mural by Beck Wheeler in 2015.



This piece is a great example of the approach I saw BMD use time and time again. Upon being introduced to their wall they sat in the car for a whole day looking, drawing, thinking and talking about what they would do.

I'd intended for them to paint the bigger of the two buildings only and got a great surprise when I saw that they had instead treated both buildings as part of one single artwork.

There was a fashion in mural painting at the time to dissect objects and this painting took that idea to a new place.


Funskull and Roach

This wall was painted by two brothers from Sydney. They were our first international guests at Graffiato and they are both reknowned for their typographic work amongst other things. It really hits the spot for someone of my generation with that reference to popular culture and it's irreverent humour. Additionally they were really blown away by the New Zealand artists they met and couldn't believe they didn't know about their work already. Upon returning to Sydney they produced a series of blog posts sharing their experience with fellow Australian artists and their followers.


Benjamin Work

I view this powerful work by Ben as something unique amongst what had been painted previously within Graffiato. This work for me is so successful in part because of how out of place it feels. It's form and symbolism seems so removed from Taupo and it's history. While Ben's reference's to Tongan and polynesian culture fit naturally into the Auckland and South Auckland area where Ben has traditionally painted, I find the introduction of these elements into Taupo's bi-cultural tradition of pakeha and maori interaction really interesting.


Elliot Francis Stewart

While modest in size, this work by Elliot Francis Stewart still creates a buzz for me when I see it. Elliot is one of my favourite artists period, and at the time of painting this he had recently embarked on an approach which involved simply blocking out with one colour using a paint roller, and then working over top of it in a single spray paint colour. In doing so he creates intricacy, detail and depth that most other artist will never achieve. His work is always evocative and I think Taupo is really lucky to have an example of his work to admire.


Find out more about the Graffiato Festival here.

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