When she was a young girl, Merle Chant used to spend her lunchtimes trying to teach other Whanganui Intermediate School students about design.
Together with her friend Imogen Maguire, they created The Cherry Club, complete with little membership cards.
Chant says that they were always known as the art kids.
"It wasn't really design. We didn't properly understand the concept, but we'd sit down and come up with stories and we'd make up creatures.
"It was really just our sisters and their friends that would come through our design club, we would have them come under our stead."
Chant sits on a camping chair, eyes cast skyward to a figure standing on a raised platform holding what looks like a broomstick with a paintbrush on the end.
Hayley Welsh is painting black around the outline of a sketch she has designed on the discoloured bricks of the former Phoenix Wine and Spirit Co Ltd building.
Now the home of the Embassy 3 cinema, the brick building with criss-crossing lines of cement is getting a makeover as a part of the Whanganui Walls Street Art Festival.
Welsh is one of eight international artists involved in the event and Chant is one of seven students participating in a Youth Mentor Programme to be carried out during it.
Chant jumped at the opportunity to take part in it as she had been thinking more and more about her art and future.
"Being taught by Hayley for the next weekend is very exciting. I'm going to develop as an artist in a lot of different ways that I'm finding hard to do on my own," she says.
"Part of the reason I'm doing the programme is to get out of my comfort zone so I can grow. I'm big on comfort zones, I like to stay in my bubble which is not good."
The Youth Mentor Programme was created by Whanganui & Partners and Whanganui Walls Street Art Festival organisers Shanti Sibbing and Simon Ormerod.
Throughout the programme, Chant will chat with Welsh, observe her processes and participate in the creation of collaborative street art with the other mentorees.
Chant was born in Scotland and came to New Zealand with her parents Murray Chant and Alex Ferretti when she was about six months old.
She attended St John's Hill School before moving on to Intermediate, where specialised art classes with teacher Kaye Coombs really cemented her love for art.
However, she took a long time to get there and there was a lot of trial and error beforehand.
"I used to do a few things when I was younger, like I tried ballet. I did not like ballet, so I quit. Dancing's not my thing," Chant says.
"It was just my only thing at the time, so I didn't have anything to compare it to and when I tried fencing and archery I thought they were fun."
Outside of art, the 16-year-old does classics and debating at Whanganui High School where her sister Hazel is also attending.
In the early stages of her time there, Chant was reunited with her Intermediate teacher Coombs in the art department.
Chant says that she was chuffed when Coombs made the move.
"She's very lovely and very good at what she does. I'm doing design with her. She'll come over and check on what you're doing and she's incredibly encouraging.
"She's always very complimentary, which does help. I'm a sucker for compliments."
Welsh uses controls to descend from the cherry picker giving her access high up the wall and hops off the platform at the bottom.
She immediately approaches Chant and volunteer Hannah Sheridan, greeting them both and noting a clear folder in Chant's hands.
It's a portfolio of her work, which she nervously hands over to her mentor, bursting her own bubble.
"I do a lot of my drawings in sketch books. I'm very private about what I do and even though a lot of my friends recognise that I like art, I don't let people go through my work," Chant says.
"I consider it very personal, almost like a diary. If I'm going to get my art out there and work in the industry or do it as a hobby in my future, I need to start presenting it to people."
Welsh smiles looking over Chant's designs and flipping through the pages.
"Wow, you're really talented," the mentor tells the mentoree.
Just one day after meeting at Bedford Ave, the two are engaged in conversation, Welsh sharing advice while Chant explains the inspiration behind her work.
Chant was unfamiliar with the work of Welsh before the festival, but upon discovering that she was going to be a part of it, she did her research.
She said Welsh's work is very neat and it instantly reminded her of some of the work done by her favourite artists.
Chant was so inspired by what she saw that when she was asked who she would like to be paired up with, she suggested Welsh and it was agreed.
"Hayley has been really friendly and kind. She hugged me before we left Bedford the other day. She's funny and I really like her process.
"I think we're going to get along well."
When travelling along Whanganui's Victoria Ave, you could be forgiven for missing a narrow alleyway between Georges Fisheries and the Embassy 3 cinema.
A walk down it results in moss-covered shoes as you pass by smashed glass window panes and graffitied walls, but there's light at the end of the tunnel.
Upon exiting, foot traffic was once greeted by bland old building walls, but are now treated to the visual delights left behind by international street artists.
The first works seen are by Pat Perry and Jacob Chrisohoou, but travelling from the Taupo Quay entrance, you will first see the creation of Hayley Welsh.
Welsh stands in front of her black and white, grey-tinged creatures as workers remove a cherry picker from her site.
A photographer arrives, so she asks if they can please move a bright orange skip bin away from her piece that she worked on for four days after months of planning.
Welsh has been an artist for over 10 years and for five years she has been travelling the world to places like New York, Lisbon and Berlin doing street art.
However, Whanganui is the first place that presented her with the opportunity to mentor someone during her creative process.
Welsh says that it was a beautiful experience.
"When I was Merle's age, I'd never met an artist before and I actually didn't meet another artist until I was one," she says.
"Her youth and purity, the fact that she's just starting up reminded me of where I came from and to stay focused on what I want to do.
"I feel I got as much from Merle as she maybe got from me. It was really beautiful to show her techniques I've learned, but also just to spend time with someone passionate."
Welsh was born in Blackburn, England and moved to Perth, Australia in 2009 because she liked the idea of travelling and fell in love with the country.
Her parents always wanted the best for her, but suggested that she take traditional professional routes growing up, such as getting into accounting.
Welsh worked many jobs in her younger years, but found that none of them ever brought her any happiness.
That all changed when she began taking on the advice of her grandad, George Welsh.
George Welsh worked many different jobs including being a coal miner and a bus conductor.
Although none of his jobs were creative, Hayley's birthday cards would always come with a poem and some words of wisdom.
He had one regular saying in particular that still influences Welsh to this day.
"It's better to be at the bottom of a ladder you want to climb than halfway up one you don't want to be on," George would say.
After a few miserable jobs, believing herself to be no good at sports and maybe even a little clumsy, Welsh finally pursued her dreams.
"When I said I wanted to be an artist when I was Merle's age it was like saying I wanted to be a tooth fairy. It didn't really exist," Welsh says.
"Grandad always believed that I would be an artist when I grew up, even when everybody thought that it wasn't a real career path."
George presented all of his granddaughter's paintings in his space at an old folks home and would explain what they all meant when he had visitors come around.
Since he passed away, Welsh remains motivated to do what she said she would and what her granddad always told her to do.
"When I look back, I think the little creatures that appear in my work might have a little bit of him in them.
"My family that knew him say to me 'whenever I look at your piece I think of your grandad', so it's nice to know that I'm keeping his message alive through my artwork."
Welsh went on to study scientific and natural history illustration at the Blackpool College of Arts and now does a combination of studio-based work and street art.
She had her first crack at street art when doing a gallery show in Australia and the project organiser suggested she should paint the outside of the gallery.
Welsh did it and never looked back.
She says she has always enjoyed working on objects that she has found.
"I have never really enjoyed working on pieces of paper. Even in the studio before doing walls I collected bits of wood, road signs, any kind of surface that added a bit of history.
"It gets me out and about and working on a different scale. It's a lot more physical. It's like dancing with a paintbrush rather than sitting down at my easel."
Welsh got so into street art that she created her own event, Blackburn Open Walls Street Art Festival which she invited Simon Ormerod of Cracked Ink to one year.
Ormerod returned the favour, inviting Welsh to Whanganui Walls where it wasn't just Chant that was doing the learning.
Welsh says the cherry picker proved tricky due to a lack of movement.
"It meant that I could only work on one side, so the face was almost finished first, but that ended up being really nice because people could see what it was and engage with this creature as it grew.
"There was kind of this life with the eye of it from day one which the community engaged with and it was a nice way of working. I think I might even bring it to my work in the future."
Welsh's design is of a creature shaped like a fish being ridden by another unique creature on top of it.
She often brings to life fluffy characters with her whimsical work that regularly reflects where she is at in life.
The inspirations behind the piece were its closeness to the Whanganui River and also the events of Christchurch on March 15, 2019 when 50 people were shot dead.
Welsh says that she wanted the piece to be about togetherness.
"You've got two different species here that don't have an age, that don't have a race, that don't have a sex and are very much a reflection of whoever's looking at them," she says.
"I want them to be open for everyone."
Below it, Welsh has painted a quote, a nod to grandad George and his way with words.
"We are the river, the river is us," it says.