A self-taught surrealist street artist is making his mark by injecting some modern motifs into the Art Deco city.
Lanes, walls, alleys and manholes are the canvases for local artist Loui Morrell, the talent behind what has become an noted piece of street art in Napier which he created about seven years ago at the Emerson St end of Theatre Lane.
He was asked by the building's landlord to create pieces of art along the wall.
What colloquially became known as "the wall" among some, became an instant photo spot for Napier's youth.
The colourful piece, which covers most of the wall section, was inspired by a book he found at the library. He describes it as having science-fiction elements and as "a time machine".
It's the second piece he painted in the lane. The first was a painting of a bungee-jumping cow further towards Tennyson St.
Painted on a manhole on the ground sits another work of his: a painted rat stuck in a cheese trap.
His work in the lane is in good company, alongside two PangaSeed sea walls created in 2017.
And now Theatre Lane is about to become more colourful again, as Morrell works most days on his newest piece which he began after lockdown.
Like all his pieces, it will be a surrealist play on perception and reality. As you walk down the lane, the angles of objects in the piece, such as a toolbox, will change.
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Morrell grew up in Napier after moving here aged 7. After living around the country he returned 20 years ago. The self-taught artist has been creating art as long as he can remember and has had work shown in exhibitions around the country including at Creative Arts Napier, Boyd-Dunlop gallery, Waihi Arts Museum and the John Leech Gallery in Auckland.
He cites Salvador Dali and M. C. Escher as artist inspirations.
Art was more than a hobby for him, but "a way of thinking about things," he said.
As he paints, people often stop to watch the new work come to life in the busy lane.
"Wow! That's amazing" says one woman as she passes through.