Napier artist Joseph Rowntree looks at the murals he creates with pride.

His past, not so much.

Rowntree, 30, is a former methamphetamine addict. It's a life he was only able to leave behind because he found his passion.

"Chasing a passion has distracted me," Rowntree told Hawke's Bay Today as he finished off a stunning campervan mural on the main road through Clive on Thursday.

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"Creating art is a different high. I feel present and connected to myself. It's not the same as a chemical high."

His path to this happy point in his life was far from easy.