Anne Gibson

Property editor of the NZ Herald

Colourful fencelift for Ponsonby

Artists (from left) Elliot 'Askew' O'Donnell, Adrian Jackman, Karl Maughan, Dan Tippett, Otis Frizzell and Darryl Thompson are transforming the Soho fence. Photo / Richard Robinson
Artists (from left) Elliot 'Askew' O'Donnell, Adrian Jackman, Karl Maughan, Dan Tippett, Otis Frizzell and Darryl Thompson are transforming the Soho fence. Photo / Richard Robinson

The white perimeter fence of Ponsonby's much-despised Soho Square is being transformed by a group of the country's leading artists.

The first few panels on the 2.4m high fence have been painted and soon Otis Frizzell will photograph Ponsonby identities and begin work on about eight larger-than-life portraits.

He described the task as epic and called for more sponsors to back it because he said he had a mortgage to pay and was aiming to reflect the area's diverse multicultural mix.

Karl Maughan will soon start work with Elliot "Askew" O'Donnell on the Williamson Ave/Pollen St corner. And in a turn-about for that pair, Mr Maughan is considering taking up the spray cans and leaving the brushes to Mr O'Donnell.

A path might emerge at that corner.

"A botanical-street art work, yeah. There will be a few flowers, maybe just pohutukawa because it might be kind of nice with a sandy path," Mr Maughan said, standing in front of the 18 blank panels he and Askew are charged with working on.

Dan Tippett said he used about 40 cans on his work, in collaboration with Darryl Thompson, at the Ponsonby Rd end of Williamson Ave.

They created easily recognisable images reflecting the neighbourhood.

"This is representative of the Grey Lynn/Ponsonby communities and what it is to us," Mr Tippett said, referring to the logo 'our hood' in the work.

"It's about getting the feel-good factor back because it has been a hole and an eyesore for so long.

"People are glad something colourful is going on."

Brady Nixon, Progressive Enterprises' property development manager on the site, said each artist was asked to design and paint a 12m mural to be a mirror to the community.

"All up, there will be 360m of panels painted on this fence.

"The project is called Colour of our Community and the artists will be mentors to various local community groups who will be invited to complete other sections of the hoardings," Mr Nixon said.

The work is sponsored by Resene and Progressive will soon start building its new Countdown behind the fences, erected for security and screening purposes.

Tricia Reade of the Waitemata Local Board said her organisation was backing the project for the artists to work with community groups and she was pleased the site was getting a big facelift.

- NZ Herald

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