Wall to Wall

18 Apr

The members of NOA Open Studio have taken their art to the next level on the renewed Church St art wall.

Based at Te Manawa, last September they launched the Paste Up! project. A blank wall on King St got covered in copies of their work, reflecting the theme of “we are all artists”.

This time there’s no copying, no pasting: the art has gone directly onto the wall.

“We wanted to keep the kaupapa of ‘We are all artists’ alive, and extend it a little bit,” says PNCC arts coordinator Gillian Tasker. “It’s more than just a paste-up; the artists are creating art, live. “

NOA coordinator Mirjam de Oude says the group wanted to keep the idea that “everyone is an artist” resonating through Palmerston North, as well as themselves.

“It’s a reiteration of principle,” she says.

The art wall was up for renewal and NOA and PNCC seized the opportunity to reinforce the Paste Up! The pressure went on as there was a strong need to get it done before winter arrived, but no-one should have worried. After Mirjam and guest artist Kelly Jarvis undertook two days of preparation – undercoating and the like – the whole project took just two working days to finish.

“They got it done so quickly,” says Gillian. “They did a tremendous job.”

“It was amazing how organically the ideas started flowing and how quickly things came together,” adds Mirjam. “Things just happened!”

To make the wall a reality, the NOA team studied their work from last year’s Paste Up!, as well as examples of other street art, and from there developed what they wanted to do. The process took place in the wake of the Christchurch terror attacks, so ideas of inclusion and acceptance became common themes.

It was difficult to pin down the total number of artists involved because often people passing in the street would stop to take part.

“People would be surprised that they were welcome to join in, and that surprise would be visible in what they brought to the wall,” recalls Mirjam. “This sort of thing is what the whole work is about: creating enthusiasm across the days of its creation.”

“When you create art together, creative conversations just happen. You never know what you’re going to end up talking about when you’re drawing next to someone else.”

This is not the end for the Paste Up! story. There’s a large “ideas box” that’s filling up, and NOA hopes to begin working on something later this year, with a move into three dimensions – and featuring even more community involvement .

“We want not only to put our art out there to share,” says Mirjam, “we want to share the experience of making art and creating stuff.”