Apprentices paired with world-renowned artists at Street Prints Ōtautahi

News News & events

21 Dec 2017

Two creatively minded Ara Institute of Canterbury students have the opportunity of a lifetime to be apprentice artists for the Street Prints Ōtautahi festival.

Ara student Ellsie Coles is working with New Zealand artist Erika Pearce on the artwork on the wall of the Gooses Screen Design building at 10a Allen Street, which has been outlined ready for activation today.

YMCA Christchurch in association with PAINT (Pushing Art in New Zealand Trust) are hosting the festival that will see a line-up of ten national and international artists create large-scale murals around Central Christchurch, Lyttelton and New Brighton. The festival opens on Thursday 21 December, and all ten murals should be complete by Christmas eve.

When the YMCA called for proposals from young artists Ellsie Coles and Jacob Root both jumped at the chance to be mentored by established street artists.

Sixteen-year old Coles, who has just finished studying the Youth Pathways Introduction to Creative Industries, is drawn to mixed media art but is still refining her own style.

“In my submission I went into detail about what I’d been doing for the past six months at Ara. I said I was looking for something to push me and to get me into creating art rather than just having it as a hobby,” says Coles.  

She is looking forward to watching New Zealand artist Erika Pearce at work, and learning from her when they both work on the wall of the Gooses Screen Design building at 10a Allen Street.

“Erika painted one of the containers at the Container Mall, which is an amazing piece of art because it kind of looks like an oil pastel portrait. She brings a lot of New Zealand culture, flora and fauna into her art.”

“Art is such a subjective thing, and it’s a hard thing for people to get started in because there isn’t one right or wrong way to become a visual artist. So it will be cool to hear the perspective of people who have already broke into the industry and to spend time with them asking those key questions.”

Root, another youth apprentice who studies at Ara, has just completed the New Zealand Certificate in Creativity (Level 4). The seventeen-year old will work alongside UK artist Findac on a well-known site: the Isaac Theatre Royal.

“I’ve been paired with Findac, a world renowned street artist, so that’s pretty amazing. It’s such a great opportunity for me personally, as well as for pushing my artwork forward. To be able to work beside these amazing artists is a huge honour.”

“It’s going to be cool to see these artists in action. These are people who are doing what they love every day, creating street art and traveling the world,” says Root.  

Adam Hayward, Arts Project Manager for the YMCA and Ara Event Management Lecturer, says this year’s street festival is about “continuing to improve the perception of street art and grow it as an art form within the city.”

“In the last few years there have been three big festivals which have put Christchurch on the street art map: RISE in 2013, and Spectrum in 2015 and 2016. For 2017, the YMCA had a vision of creating a festival that involved locals in the painting process and shifted away from just an exhibition of artworks. This year with Street Prints Ōtautahi we’ve looked at a much broader community engagement programme,” says Hayward.

YMCA CEO Josie Ogden Schroeder shares the same sentiment. “Events like these create places. Cities are more than just buildings and streets – to have heart and soul cities need people to engage with the urban landscape, and what better way to do this than with art,” Ogden Schroeder says.  

From Thursday 21 December to Friday 29 December the YMCA will host activation events across four different sites containing demonstrations and workshops, dance performances, parkour, circus arts and skateboarding.

Ara has engaged with the festival by contributing a wall in New Brighton on the side of the Ara Campus Hub building, which is to be painted by Cinzah from Hawkes Bay. Another two walls will be made into works of art near the Madras Street Campus, including the one Coles will work on with Erika Pearce at 10a Allen Street and another at 30 Allen Street (on the Foley building).

Street Prints Ōtautahi has been made possible by the support of the Christchurch City Council and the Rata Foundation.  

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