This page contains information about the latest addition, Salvador Dali, to the tactical urbanism theme in Whangarei CBD.
16/07/2018 2:30 p.m.
Salvador Dali is the latest addition to a formerly unloved space that is gaining increasing attention in Whangārei.
Council landscape architect Tracey Moore made a quick call to the developer when she realised the image of the famous Spanish surrealist was about to be destroyed and saved the painting by local artist Rodrigo Rozas.
The mural that had adorned the roller door in a building on James Street for two years or so looked to be in peril when the building was being demolished.
A keen advocate for interesting landscapes and vibrant urban areas, Tracey managed to have the door salvaged and found the perfect new location for it in the alley way between Rathbone Street and Butter Factory Lane, continuing the “tactical urbanism” theme that is livening up the area.
“It’s kind of iconic as when I’ve talked to people about this they knew of the mural in its original location but thought it had been dumped so will be nice to see it reappear,” she said.
“The artist is stoked. He thought it was destroyed, but instead it has been reinstalled with a Dali quote next to it. It has been a real team effort that everyone was excited to take part in and now we have a new piece of public art, which also gives the mural a new lifespan and improves this part of the town.
“The developer Neil Group gave it to us, R&S Eng engineered it so it could be safely secured to the wall, NPM Ltd constructed and installed it, Ross Davies prepped the wall for the vinyl lettering, Vital Signs provided the lettering for the quotation which was designed by Council graphic designer Raymond Poultney. Harvey Furnishings were very supportive and excited about having some public art installed on their wall.
Artist Rodrigo Rozas is always looking for more walls to paint in Whangārei and is keen to hear from anyone who has one to put to good use. He is delighted with the salvaging of his Dali painting.
“The daughter of a friend commissioned me to do the painting when there was a gallery in the building before it was demolished. I decided to use a street-art style of a famous artist that people probably recognise, to give it some credibility."
From Chile, Rodrigo has been living in Whangārei for about 10 years and he and partner Anna Booth have three children aged four, five and nine.
He got his start as a street artist in Chile several years ago, when a graphic designer friend saw his work and invited him along to an old rail yard to perfect his spray can technique.
He comes from a creative family - his father and brothers are artists - and he completed his Bachelor of Applied Arts at NorthTec in 2016.
“You could say I started out a bit on the naughty side, but as I improved I became more legit."
Painting can be a lonely craft though and working without any company every day can spoil the joy, so when a job came up replacing windscreens for Novus he took it.
“Now my painting is after work. I am not lonely or homesick any more because I have an enjoyable, physical job and I am working with good friends."
Although Rodrigo has been back to Chile twice, his home is very much in Whangārei now, where he and his family live.
“When I come over the Brynderwyn hills and see Mount Manaia I know I am coming home.”
The next time he has that heart-warming experience will be when he returns from a spray painting course he has been invited to in Russia.
“People saw my art on Instagram and liked it and invited me to their first English speaking course.”
He has a lot to look forward to when he gets back to Whangarei – not only seeing family and friends and the great view from the top of the Brynderwyns, but also filling out his application for citizenship.
“I just received the papers the other day” he said.