Whanganui Walls organiser Simon Ormerod, aka Cracked Ink, set about creating online mural festival HOME only three weeks before it was launched on April 21.

Coinciding with International Earth Day, the week-long event was designed to mount a "globe-spanning campaign to unite creatives around the common cause of giving our home planet an artistic voice as we set our sights on a world post-coronavirus".

Despite such a short time-frame to work with, Ormerod said more than 800 people from 60 countries painted murals, including himself and fellow Whanganui artist Mike Marsh.

"It was crazy to see so many entrants from all over the world. I think we had 830 by the end," Ormerod said.


"The States had the most entrants, but New Zealand certainly wasn't far behind.

"We had pieces from as far afield as Vanuatu and Cuba."

Ormerod said he's been "blown away" by the response, and that he hadn't been able to keep up with social media messages during the week-long event.

"It's turned out to be such a cool thing. Starting out I thought that maybe we'd get an absolute maximum of 400 entrants.

"We wanted Whanganui Walls to be an event where artists from all over the world could come to the city and feel like they're part of the community and enjoy themselves while they were here.

"Something like this has taken that idea out on a worldwide scale."

Whanganui artist Simon Ormerod's backyard mural for the HOME online art festival. Photo / Supplied
Whanganui artist Simon Ormerod's backyard mural for the HOME online art festival. Photo / Supplied

Ormerod had initially planned to create a mural at the Gonville Pools, but because of a lack of paint, he decided to use the wall that his garden backs onto.

"I messaged the neighbour who owns that building and asked if I could use it, and they said 'go for it'.


"I've been part of two or three webinars each day, usually for about an hour each, so it was pretty hard to find the time to do some art of my own."

Ormerod said Whanganui Walls and the other festival organisers, PangeaSeed Foundation and Alternative Arts Initiative, had already discussed hosting another online art festival, and that the Covid-19 pandemic might "force an evolution" in the way art festivals were run.

"I think we'll try and mix it up next time, but this has definitely got us brainstorming ideas for something we might do further on down the track," Ormerod said.

"When you're curating an art festival, there's always that thought of, 'man, I wish I could include more members of the community in this'."

"An online platform like HOME would give artists who are still developing a place to show their work and get their art out there for people to see."