Shaw is Art!

Shaw is Art! add

Christchurch's Street Art has become an integral part of the city's rebirth - injecting a much needed blast of colour, youth and movement into some static and lonely parts of the inner city. In this week's defign we speak to one of street arts greatest influencers - George Shaw of Oi You!

Why is street art so significant to you and what makes it important to the rebuild of Christchurch?

The traditional visual art world has long needed a popularist counterpoint; by the vast majority, it is viewed as exclusive and art galleries are places that don't appeal, street art is filling that void - It is the cinema to the galleries theatre, it's the pop band to classical music's orchestra.

The big murals that were created at the end of 2013 weren't the first signs that Christchurch was bouncing back but they were the most prominent and for many they were the turning point that people were waiting for, a major positive after all the destruction. The process of layering street art into the cityscape has been embraced not just by the general public but by institutions like CCC, CCDU and CERA - with all this backing Christchurch has the opportunity to become one of the world's great street art cities.

There are many wonderful street artworks throughout Christchurch, but what one is your favorite?

The obvious answer is the Ballerina on the back of the Isaac Theater Royal as I was so involved in its delivery and it has already become an icon of the reemerging city but there is a montage piece on the corner of High Street that wins it for me. It's an open street artist's book - by Wongi and Ikarus, two of Christchurch's major artists, it depicts local people and many things that I can personally relate to and have come to know since living and working in the city.

The appeal of street art is definitely growing - do you think more architectural designers should consider engaging street artists when creating their buildings?

It's no different to any other styling - there are an ever growing number of great artists who are becoming very adept at scaling up their work and if a building can be enhanced (and this is the key) by employing these skills then they should be considered.

Everyone at ADNZ is greatly looking forward to your talk at the 2015 ADNZ Conference in Christchurch. What do you hope designers will learn from your talk?

I will be speaking about the global explosion of street art/muralisum and its positive impacts. I hope attendees will gain a better understanding of how this art movement has developed and an insight into how it may evolve in the future.

To book your seat at the 2015 ADNZ Conference click here