The people behind Tauranga's Paradox Street Art Festival have been overwhelmed, and a little stunned, at the huge amount of support it has received in its first few days.

Queues into Tauranga Art Gallery stretched out on to the street for most of the weekend, with people on Saturday waiting about 20 minutes each to get a glimpse of the Paradox exhibition, which includes the Oi YOU! collection.

Street artist Jacob Ryan, better known as Yikes, said he had not encountered public demand with queues out the door at a festival like Paradox before.

"That's not a very common thing to see for an exhibition of this nature," he said.

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"I'm from Christchurch and we've had similar festivals too down there but this one takes the cake."

Yikes said he also was blown away by the feedback on the festival and his work - which covers three storeys of the Spring St public car park.

"The response from people, young and old, it's all been positive. I try to create art where's there's something for everyone to relate to and there's been a real mix of age groups telling me they like it.

"It's quite surprising the amount of positive feedback we've had. It was one of those things that was always going to really take off or not."

Gallery director Karl Chitham said organisers had done very little advertising and most of their marketing had been through news stories and word-of-mouth.

"We were really overwhelmed with the popularity of the show," he said.

Tauranga Art Galley director Karl Chitham has been overwhelmed at the popularity of the Paradox Street Art Festival. Photo/George Novak 020417gn01bop.
Tauranga Art Galley director Karl Chitham has been overwhelmed at the popularity of the Paradox Street Art Festival. Photo/George Novak 020417gn01bop.

Saturday alone saw 1792 people through the gallery doors. The gallery gets between 80 and 120 people on an average day.

"It's been pretty amazing. We are really fortunate," Mr Chitham said.

"We've had a lot of locals through but particularly a lot of out-of-towners too . . . including a family from Auckland but staying in Waihi. They saw it [the festival] on TV and thought they would travel down."

The festival has been two years in the making and is a collaboration between the Tauranga City Council, the Tauranga Art Gallery and Oi YOU!. It is named Paradox because it features outdoor street murals from internationally acclaimed street artists while also offering their work in an indoor, gallery setting. It opened to the public on Tuesday.

I'm from Christchurch and we've had similar festivals too down there but this one takes the cake.

Mr Chitham said while he was heartened at such a positive launch to the festival, he encouraged people who were not fans of crowds to come back at a later point as the festival was on until June.

He said organisers were looking at also bringing in night viewings of the gallery "so people can have a wine and enjoy the work at their own leisure, without so many people around".

Mount Maunganui man Andrew Kearns said he loved the exhibition, particularly Banksy's work as "some of it smacked you in the face".

Banksy is an anonymous British artist revered throughout the world for creating confrontational, thought-provoking pieces often touching on politics and war.

"It's interesting watching other people's reactions," Mr Kearns said.

George Shaw is the man behind the Oi YOU! collection featuring works from Banksy. Oi YOU! is part of the Tauranga Paradox Street Art Festival which launched last week. Photo/John Borren
George Shaw is the man behind the Oi YOU! collection featuring works from Banksy. Oi YOU! is part of the Tauranga Paradox Street Art Festival which launched last week. Photo/John Borren