US 'graf artist' makes mark on Auckland

By Amelia Wade

American graffiti artist Jurne (foreground) with Auckland graffiti artist Bobby Hung. Photo / Brett Phibbs
American graffiti artist Jurne (foreground) with Auckland graffiti artist Bobby Hung. Photo / Brett Phibbs

International graffiti artist Jurne doesn't like having his picture taken because he doesn't want to be recognised. Why not?

"It's just a policy of mine."

The "graf-artist", who calls San Francisco home, is in Auckland to judge New Zealand's only graffiti competition which is to be held this Saturday as part of the Southside Arts festival.

And despite being in the country for less than a week, he's already made his mark on Auckland.

Jurne - pronounced "journey" - and a group of other graffiti artists have painted a large mural on the wall of a playcentre in Manukau.

Jurne's section took about five hours to complete.

Fellow artist Bobby Hung, who painted the spot next to Jurne, took three hours.

"I'm a faster painter," Mr Hung joked.

Jurne's path to becoming a graffiti artist is a little different from most - the 29-year-old earned a masters degree in biology and was working in a stem cell biology research lab before deciding to follow his "true passion" eight months ago.

"It seemed like a good time to get into it. It's a special time for graffiti, it's being approached as a contemporary art form."

Jurne said he's particularly interested in the exciting graf-art that is being produced in New Zealand at the moment.

The Southside Gig competition, held at the TelstraClear Pacific Events Centre in Manukau, gathers the top 16 graffiti artists from all over New Zealand to compete for the winning title.

It is part of the annual Southside Arts Festival, organised by the Auckland Council.

- NZ Herald

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