Q&A: George Shaw

Q&A: George Shaw

What has Oi YOU! been up to in the last few years? We organised Rise in 2014 and Spectrum in 2015 and 2016. They were absolutely huge festivals, we worked too hard and we burned out. We did some more stuff around the country including a smaller festival in Tauranga. A few years ago Christchurch Airport approached us to do several artworks over a few years. We also did the 3D-style mural in SALT District, the one that says ‘SALT Ōtautahi’. We’ve done some Antarctic-themed murals with the Antarctic Centre and a couple of works at Riverside Market. Ōtākaro Limited got one in the south frame on Durham and Mollett Street which talks to the development of graffiti into street art. It depicts trains in New York and the four decades of becoming what we know as street art.

What does that involve? A lot of people don’t know all this lovely street art wouldn’t have happened if it wasn’t for a bunch of young people in New York graffiting on trains back in the day.

How is the Christchurch art scene different now from how it was ten years ago? The street art in the city is starting to appear and not be replaced. The property developers are seeing there’s a huge advantage to having beautiful murals around the city, because it brings people in.

READ MORE: Street art in Christchurch

What’s your art creation process? Where my skills lie is in the organisational and design side. We work very closely with the artists in the city, like Dcypher and Jacob Yikes. For example, the Riverside mural: the idea came from looking at the wall and thinking about what could go there. Then we talk to the artists, make up some designs and take it from there.

How did that mural come together? The Riverside mural is an interpretation of a Mondrian painting. I saw the ASB cash dispenser in the bottom right corner of the wall. We couldn’t move that, so we used it as inspiration. We wanted to use that word, ‘resilient’, and the clasped hands show the unity that the city has shown over the last few years. Dcypher and I designed it, then he did the art – I put a bit of block colour on the wall, but Dcypher’s got the technical and artistic skills.

Tell us about a piece of street art that’s inspired you.I think my favourite piece in the city is one from the first Spectrum, the Tilt mouths on the back of the casino. I also love [Owen Dippie’s] Ballerina and I love the SALT mural. There’s so much good stuff in the city. The Rone piece is just gorgeous, the one on the brick wall. We placed that for one of our first events and I still adore it.

Where’s your favourite place to go in Christchurch for a:

Morning coffee? I love grabbing a coffee at Riverside, it’s just got such a good vibe to it.

Post-painting beer? Smash Palace for sure. It’s such an iconic Christchurch venue. That takes some beating, in my opinion.

Hit of creative inspiration? I’d love to say it’s while walking in the headlands around Taylors Mistake, but to be honest with you, my inspiration, the best ideas I have seem to arrive at 3:00 in the morning



People, Culture

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