Auckland, Art, Aerosols & Artists

on a recent trip to New Zealand I discovered that it’s cities have a rich and vibrant history of graffiti and street art.
Sadly most of the public spray paint art in Auckland had been erased in preparation for the Rugby World Cup 2012
so I missed out on seeing some its most iconic pieces but I did get a chance to meet up with many of the artists driving the regeneration and appreciation of this evolving art form.
Thanks to all those who took part and to the hugely talented aerosol artists I missed meeting up with – I hope to catch
up with you all further down the road to continue this project.
For more information on each featured artist – just click the images below…

Askew One by John Hicks

Askew One

Gasp by John Hicks

Gasp

Erin Forsyth by John Hicks

Erin Forsyth

Xoe Hall by John Hicks

Xoe Hall

Enforce1 by John Hicks

Enforce1

Flox by John Hicks

Flox

Component by John Hicks

Component

Wert159 by John Hicks

Wert159

Ross 'TrustMe' Liew by John Hicks

Ross ‘TrustMe’ Liew

Paul Walsh

In a quiet leafy suburb a lone figure walks through a park, crosses a stream, and enters a storm drain.
He walks through the ankle deep water and I follow as a feeling of claustrophobia creeps into me. I try to keep up but slip on some slime and water splashes my face in the darkness.
Paul Walsh is an artist who is totally at home in this subterranean world and as he walks he shines the torch on his phone into the void and gives me a running commentary of the graffiti artists who have tagged down there.
Finally we emerge into the light, at the end of the tunnel, as we reach the spot where Paul will do his piece.
It’s a fairytale world where tropical plants hang down graffiti clad walls and birds bathe in the water that runs through the storm drain while, bizarrely, bright orange goldfish swim in the pools that are cut off from the main flow.
All is silent apart from the birdsong, the sound of an occasional inner city train as it thunders overhead and the rattle of spray cans as Paul gets to work….This is not commercial art produced to sell but something crafted for the pure love of it and the need to create and be creative. A few hours pass by like seconds and then Paul is finished.
As we trudge back through the darkness shafts of light illuminate urban artworks rarely seen by the public walking above us. We say our goodbyes and I make my way back through the city watching commuters in suits hurry across town and teenage kids, still in their school uniforms, smoking on swings in the park.
Alone in the darkness of the tunnel the black and white face of Charles Bukowski stares out and his words echo eerily
“some people never go crazy, What truly horrible lives they must lead.”

paul walsh by john hicks

See No Evil – Bristol 2011

I’m from Bristol.
I went to school in Lockleaze, scored 48 goals in one season for Bristol Boys and worked Saturdays in my dad’s shop on Stapleton Road.
Starting out I took photos for local what’s on guide Venue and got to check out crews like The Wild Bunch
some of whom would go on to form Massive Attack and Smith & Mighty who I went to school with.
At my mum’s house I had backdrops of original graffiti art by Delge aka 3D aka Robert Del Naja that would have been worth a bit – had I hung onto them.
Time, travel, fate and consequence have all moved us on from our birthplace and I haven’t been back in nearly a decade but this video reminds me that you can take the boy out of Bristol but you’ll never take Bristol out of the boy….
Special thanks and respect to Miles Johnson aka DJ Milo for sending me this link