'Accidental muralists' strike again

By liz.wylie@wanganuichronicle.co.nz

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HOUSE COLOURS: Artists Cally McKenzie (left) and James Graves with Kai Iwi School students celebrate the new panels at the school frontage.PHOTO/BEVAN CONLEY
HOUSE COLOURS: Artists Cally McKenzie (left) and James Graves with Kai Iwi School students celebrate the new panels at the school frontage.PHOTO/BEVAN CONLEY

Whanganui artists Cally McKenzie and James Graves have been up to their old tricks again - accidentally painting murals.

The talented pair are responsible for the painting on the side of the RSA building in St Hill St, the Red Cross mural and the Kai Iwi School panorama, although they have never promoted themselves as painters.

Sculptor Graves and glass artist McKenzie have described themselves as "accidental" mural painters and their latest work at Kai Iwi School bears the legend "accidental muralists".

Kai Iwi School principal Ross Harvey looks out on the artists' 2014 mural from his office window and contacted McKenzie and Graves to see if they could also paint some panels to brighten up the front of the school.

"There were five plain wooden panels there and I thought there could be one to represent each of the four school houses and one for a sign," said Mr Harvey.

Working from a studio in Whanganui, the artists started work on the panels depicting kereru, tui, kiwi and pukeko as well as a Kai Iwi School sign just eight weeks ago.

"We are getting pretty good at this now," said Graves. "Cally did most of the work on the sign because she is good at the signwriting and we worked collaboratively on the bird panels."

The two have now graduated from UCOL with Fine Arts degrees and are planning to concentrate on generating income from their work - unless they accidentally stumble across another mural commission, that is.

- Wanganui Chronicle

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