In January 2019, some of the worlds best street artists transformed some grey city walls into colourful masterpieces as part of the Street Prints Manaia, International Art Festival. 15 incredible murals based on the theme “Tui ate muka Tangata – Weaving the Thread of Humanity”.
This untitled work was created by Swiftmantis and Ephraim Russell from Palmerston North. The duo worked as tattooists, with Ephraim informally educating Swiftmantis about Graffiti and Street Art. This undertaking was their first collaboration with a large-scale mural. The artwork contains the unusual pairing of a kitten and a weta.
Swiftmantis commented: "From the start, we really wanted a photographic depth-of-field look in our rendering, so the focal points are sharply detailed while the out of focus area are more blurry and soft. We started the concept by photographing everything ourselves. We photographed the kitten and weta from an upward angle so when we scale them up to the size of a 9-metre wall it really looks like they're looking down on you from street-view. These two creatures are unusual companions and reflect the unusual relationships we encounter in life. The unexpected friends we meet along the way that challenge and change our paths, and together help weave the threads of our future. This idea is often embellished in many cinematic motifs, and since the mural is painted on the Whangarei Cinema, we thought it would be fitting to encapsulate the whole freeze frame moment with a film-reel border."