Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Fade to grey

Art colours our city, from the Aucklander, Jan 20, 2011.

excerpt: "Cleo Barnett is leading us to a small alley near K Rd, across from Beresford Square. Even though we parked just a few metres away from here moments ago, we didn't notice the graffiti then so we're surprised when we see it. The graffiti covers an entire wall and I stand for a couple of minutes trying to take in the whole frame.

Street art like this is all around Auckland, but Mayor Len Brown has now called for the eradication of graffiti. Cleo represents the opposition.

"I really love art and I love crazy artists, the art world, and creating."

At the bottom of the story Mayor Len Brown responds. Worth a read, in light of the Poynton Tce mess. Brown: "These are two very different issues. Graffiti vandalism is not the same as permission-based art. I am determined to take a hard line on graffiti vandalism. Graffiti-style murals, created with the permission of property owners is a very different story...."

Also from the Aucklander, another mural gets painted over. This mural had been regularly painted by artists for five years, and was painted over by Auckland City Council in August 2009. As soon as it got painted over, tagging appeared. The Auckland City Council staffer behind this was Rob Shields.

Readers of The Aucklander respond here, including the artists involved.  Some excerpts....

Paul Goldsmith of the Auckland City Council writes: "It's a bit odd to have self-appointed artists acting as if they have a God-given right to paint images - "artistic or otherwise'' - on public spaces and then getting upset if it gets painted over."

Several local residents wrote saying how much they liked the wall and the colour it bought to their neighbourhood.

"We had the same artists who painted the Parnell wall come and paint a mural on our local scout den as we had been plagued with taggers. We have not had any problems since. After seeing the results of the painting, other scout dens have used the same group with the same positive response. The kids and parents love the result."- S Carr.

The artists also wrote, saying "Whilst painting the new mural [after it got defaced, then painted out by Council in July], Auckland police officers also came to inspect the situation and understood the creative and artist merits of the work we were creating and gave us the all clear to continue the mural...

... Upon completion of the painting, we were graced with the presence of Mr Rob Shields, a former police officer and the Auckland City Council graffiti prevention officer.

Mr Shields threatened us with arrest and ordered us to leave the site immediately and deemed our artwork "glorified tagging" and "vandalism". Twenty four hours later our artwork was gone.

Our efforts to reason with Mr Shields, emphasising the love and appreciation we had received whilst painting the murals only resulted in a phone call from Mr Shields informing us that we were lucky to escape arrest and that our artwork had been ordered to be removed...."

1 comment:

Hamish Keith said...

And this will go on until the city and the Mayor is called on it. He will deny it and blame staff - but he could intervene. I think we still need an audit and a register that works and we don't want it left to the whim of the council or their dodgy arts department