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Spray it don’t say it

Updated: Jul 7, 2020

Papamoa muralist Graham Hoete, better known by his artist name Mr G, has been producing murals with messages of hope and encouragement. Now he’s preparing for his first solo exhibition. Leilani Baker reports.

It’s street art with a whole lot of heart.

Mr G is preparing works for Home, which will show at Tauranga Art Gallery from November 2019 to early 2020. It will explore the theme of haukāinga (home), with a focus on Motiti Island with which the Hoete family have a strong connection.

‘It's been in my heart for a while. I've done a lot of commercial, community and charitable work but by having a solo exhibition, I can share what's dear to my heart, celebrate my roots. And what better place to do it than here in Tauranga Moana.’

A self-taught artist, he has received no formal training beyond secondary school, but his art has been recognised locally and internationally. In 2016 he painted a purple-rain themed mural of the singer Prince not long after his death. The following year he was commissioned to paint 15 murals on buildings belonging to Farmlands Cooperative around the country.

Since then he’s painted an 8x30 metre mural of Sir Edmund Hillary, Kate Sheppard and Apirana Ngata, his biggest piece of street art yet. The mural on the side of sports-gear company Obo on Mihaere Drive in Palmerston North took more than 10 days and 90 cans of spray paint to produce.

Mr G stands in front of his Palmerston North mural of Sir Edmond Hillary, Kate Sheppard, and Apirana Ngata

Hoete has also dabbled in oil painting, carving, motor airbrushing, and has completed graphic design work for companies like Nike and V Energy.

For the first time he will be presenting what he calls his G-series portraits, which incorporate both spray paint and carving. The exhibition will include portraits of family members like the mural of his grandparents which he spray-painted on a shed on Matakana Island.

After painting professionally for 15 years he says he will only paint murals that mean something to him. They must depict either people who have inspired him or landscapes that hold a special place in his heart.

First published ArtZone #78


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