Mr G’s website describes him as a ‘contemporary multi-disciplinary artist /designer’. He may not be as shy as Banksy about having his photo taken, but facts about him are almost as scarce.
It’s another story on the phone. Mr G – who is former Tauranga resident Graham Hoete – is a beautifully cultured speaker, happy to chat.
And he’s just one of the extraordinary line-up of national and international artists at the Street Prints Mauao Street Art Festival at Mount Maunganui, which started yesterday and runs through to Sunday.
Organised by Jah and Lovie Smith, the inaugural festival will see 18 artists painting 16 murals on walls across Mount Maunganui over four days.
Originally a Tauranga local, Mr G has been living and working in Sydney for two-and-a-half years. But this weekend presents a rare opportunity for locals to see him back in action; and he’s clearly happy to be flying in.
“I’m from Tauranga so it’s a great opportunity for me to come home, and have a paint as well; I’m looking forward to it.” It also means a chance to catch up with friends.
“I know quite a few of the other artists, Charles and Janine [Williams] are really close friends of mine.” The Auckland couple are also professional streets artists, who have been in the scene for two decades.
Mr G is impressed with the line-up for the festival. “Tauranga’s in for a real treat. The calibre of artists is high. You have some of New Zealand’s best, and also some international artists who are doing some really big things.”
He is full of praise for organisers, Jah and Lovie. “They’ve done a really good job and need to be commended for their vision and persistence. It wouldn’t have been an easy task to run something like this.”
Mr G says they’re trying to pitch something that people are still relatively ignorant about. Is it graffiti or street art? “This sort of event will help to break down some of the negative stigma. People can see it first-hand, it’s going to be a real treat for the Mount.”
Other artists are also doing big things overseas, and Mr G particularly mentions Askew and Owen Dippie. “I think a lot of the guys participating in this year’s event are bringing credibility to street art in terms of the work they produce. It commands attentions, you know, and it’s beautiful, the work is stunning, and people can connect with it.”
The theme for the festival is land and sea. “I’m going to paint a portrait of my father. He’s from Motiti Island, right next door to the whole Rena thing, so it’s his home and it’s something appropriate to paint, and I love my father.”
The artists hit the streets of Mount Maunganui yesterday, and continue today, Saturday, and Sunday. There’s a huge range of events on across the festival covering Art Workshops, Live Street Art, Food, and Music from DJ Spragga.
His wall is located behind the Event Cinemas on Maunganui Road. You can walk down Bounty Lane.