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FLARE Artist Profiles

FLARE

FLARE Street Art Festival is an exciting collection of live painting events and street activation across central Christchurch.

Expect the country’s best street artists and muralists to descend on our city from 2 - 12 March, making a lasting impact on our visual culture.

Wongi

Wongi Wilson

There are few Ōtautahi Christchurch artists whose work is more recognisable than Wongi Wilson. His work can be seen around most corners of the central city, on suburban walls and inside commercial spaces.

He was interested in graffiti from a young age and for over 25 years he’s watched the art form grow from virtual non-existence to a blossoming and pervasive creative influence across New Zealand.⁠

⁠Wongi played a major role in the transformation of graffiti art in Ōtautahi Christchurch and is synonymous with the rise of street art muralism in the city. From media coverage to featuring in documentaries and various publications as well as festivals, his murals have transformed hundreds of walls throughout the city.⁠

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Koryu

Koryu

Originally from Japan, Koryu is a self-taught artist. He worked as a graphic designer in Japan before teaching himself street art in Melbourne in 2019. He’s since travelled to countries around the world to paint and discover new cultures, and it was these experiences he credits as a strong foundation of his artistry.

He’s painted a dozen walls in his adopted temporary home of Geraldine and does mural work for community spaces while also performing as a live painter. His painting of animals, people and plants are delicate and full of colour and originality.

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Kophie

Kophie Hulsbosch

Kophie Hulsbosch, AKA Meep, is a Christchurch-based artist whose work includes graphic design, illustration, painting, graffiti, and clothing design. Her output is influenced by hip-hop culture, low-brow art, and sustainability.

She’s inspired by challenging and disrupting the status quo, something reflected in her graffiti and her clothing brand @future_nz, a response to mass production and fast fashion.

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Kell Sunshine

Kelly Spencer

Kelly Spencer, AKA Kell Sunshine, is a lettering artist, muralist, and illustrator from Gisborne, with a big love for Mother Earth. Her creative style is characterised by fresh colour palettes and curvaceous forms, meticulously hand-crafted lettering, flora and fauna. Her work often serves as a platform to promote environmental conservation.⁠

⁠Kelly has been a feature artist in street art festivals across the globe. She’s spoken at a handful of conferences including Typism 2018 on the Gold Coast. She was the curator of the 2019 activation of Sea Walls – Artists for Oceans Tairāwhiti NZ, bringing 20 fresh murals to Gisborne from renowned international artists.⁠

⁠Things that make her happy include: her pup, sunshine, seedlings, the sound of tropical rain, scuba diving, and the thought of being able to travel again.⁠

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Ikarus

Nick ‘Ikarus’ Tam ⁠

Nick ‘Ikarus’ Tam is a founding member the DTR Crew, Christchurch’s foremost graffiti art collective. He lives and breathes the genre and has accumulated an almost encyclopaedic knowledge of graffiti art. Combined with his flawless clean-line style, his knowledge makes him one of the city’s most respected artists.

When Ikarus is not graffiti lettering, his artistic style leans towards installation and sculpture work, and the pressures of working in the fringes of society.

Ikarus is heavily involved in youth work and was instrumental in Project Legit before it lost its home in the 2011 earthquake. The project worked to encourage artistic expression among inner-city kids, many of whom were referred by the Youth Justice Department.

More recently, Ikarus played a crucial role in painting the enormous Riverside Market Mural, fine-tuning the design alongside the rest of the DTR Crew. The mural has quickly become a Christchurch landmark.⁠

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Elliot

Elliot Francis Stewart aka Deus RFC⁠

Elliot Francis Stewart grew up Pakuranga, east Auckland. He spent his childhood engrossed in comic books and creating elaborate cartoon drawings of galleons and scenes of war.⁠

⁠His family relocated to Grey Lynn in 1996 and he attended the now-defunct Auckland Metropolitan College where he met and formed the tight-knit RFC (Rat Fink Club) crew.⁠

⁠Elliot became part of TMD @the_most_dedicated in 2001 and established himself as a talent in character-based work. His early shows at The Gully Lounge in St.Kevin’s Arcade and Disrupt Gallery allowed him to showcase elaborate works often created on found objects in common house paint and ballpoint pen.⁠

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Swiftmantis

Swiftmantis

Mikal Carter, AKA Swiftmantis, is a realism artist from the Palmerston North in the Manuwatu. He specialises in street art, tattoo and illustration. His most recognisable pieces fall under the category of animal-realism, including the Stray Stories series which features Squishee, a multi-storey depiction of a street cat who became a household pet.

Most of his murals can be found in the North Island, but he did work with acclaimed artist Sean Duffell on a piece in Blenheim in 2021.

His tattoo art is inspired by hip hop music, and he got into murals through commissions for local businesses. He is excited to be part of another street art festival, and sharing his work with new audiences.

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