Two Bay of Plenty artists have scooped up prizes for their winning brush strokes at an international mural art festival in Australia.

Tauranga's Shane Walker won the competition while Marc Spijkerbosch from Rotorua took out the People's Choice Award.

The International Mural Fest is a mural art competition and festival held annually at Easter in Sheffield, Tasmania's "Town of Murals".

Reportedly the first of its kind in the world, the competition is held in Mural Park, a purpose-built "outdoor art gallery".


The artists were directed to create a mural using a poem about the surrounding beauty in the world as inspiration.

The two Kiwis were up against competition from nine artists, including two from Puerto Rico.

Tauranga-based Shane Walker won.

The self-taught artist worked out of a garage in Mount Maunganui and it was the first time he had ventured overseas for the competition.

For about four years he has been selling work at markets and painting murals. His mural work was splattered around the Bay of Plenty, including Waihī Beach, Katikati, Tauranga and Rotorua.

Marc Spijkerbosch was
Marc Spijkerbosch was "absolutely chuffed" to win the People's Choice Award.

The pop-up park on Devonport Rd in the Tauranga CBD, along with Chorus power boxes dotted around the region, also featured his work.

The inspiration behind his winning entry titled The Voyager was pursuing the path perhaps less taken.

"It's about leaving the world of convenience behind and going out and exploring. It's about finding the beautiful and raw parts of the world. You don't know what's out there until you go out and find it."


He walked away from the competition with the cash prize, joking that the entry "paid off".

He said the money was in the bank and would go towards living costs.

Marc Spijkerbosch was "absolutely chuffed" to win the People's Choice Award.

He described his vivid and mind-bending piece as a 3D mural that "invited the viewer in".

This was his fifth time at the festival, and not the first award either - he scooped up prizes in 2008, 2009 and 2010.

He called the festival a "cool concept with high calibre artists coming from all around the world".

This fierce competition from artists around the world made the wins by New Zealanders extra special, he said.

Spijkerbosch said he had made good friends through the festival so it had become somewhat of a catch-up each year.

"It's kind of like a big reunion."

He has 25 years of experience as a freelance artist under his belt in addition to doing work for the Rotorua Lakes Council.