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Lineup announced for Graffiato: Taupo Street Art Festival 2020

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

12 artists, 11 walls, and 3 days of creativity at the 10-year anniversary of New Zealand’s longest running annual street art festival.

An exciting collection of renowned New Zealand artists have been secured for the 10th annual Graffiato: Taupō Street Art Festival to be held in Taupō’s town centre this Labour Weekend, 23 - 26 October 2020.

Well-known New Zealand artists Chimp, Erin Forsyth and Haser are among the headline artists attending the festival in October.

Three of the 12 artists in this year’s lineup have attended Graffiato in the past, and all bring a unique style of muralism.

From Saturday morning, visitors will have the opportunity to watch artists at work as they create their large-scale artworks within the Taupō town centre over the long weekend. The festival team have been purposeful about matching the right wall with the right artist to use each space within the town centre as a platform for their storytelling.

"There’s an awesome atmosphere around the town centre during Graffiato festival weekend - it’s a great opportunity for visitors and locals to witness the murals come to life and engage with the artists as they work," says Festival Coordinator, Alice Thompson.

The 10-year celebration of Graffiato: Taupō Street Art Festival is a remarkable achievement in the eyes of Festival Curator, Ross Liew:

"It captures a period in which the world of painting on walls has changed and evolved significantly. From the outside it may still look like paint on walls, but from the inside there has been huge growth

and development. You don't notice the incremental change year on year, but when I consider where things were at when this festival began in 2011, there's a profound difference."

"Artists now have career pathways, walls have gotten bigger, the art has become more diverse, the audience has become more educated and artists have matured," says Ross.

As for why Ross keeps returning to curate the festival year on year: Graffiato: Taupō Street Art Festival has enabled him to be in the middle of this evolution and witness the development of the artform and the artists, which has been a rewarding experience for him.

Ross has an equal dose of compulsion to create, and compulsion to cultivate. In the first year of Graffiato: Taupō Street Art Festival in 2011 he saw an opportunity to create 13 murals, rather than personally creating just one as an artist. Since then, the festival has become about expanding the community of artists who love to paint walls, supporting those who are new to the field and acknowledging those who have led from the front for years.

Since the festival began in 2011, there have been 112 appearances from artists, which is comprised of 70 individual artists. The most featured artists are Mica Still and Taupō local FLWLSS who have both attended five times. Followed by Erin Forsyth who will return for her fifth year in 2020, Sean Duffell and BMD both on four appearances each.

"When Graffiato first started in 2011, artists were mostly from graffiti and street art backgrounds. These days it is much more diverse with illustration, typography, tattooing, calligraphy, and studio painting all represented on our walls" says Festival Curator, Ross Liew.

"10-years is a huge achievement. Although there are similar festivals that have popped up around the country, few have the longevity of Graffiato," says Towncentre Taupō Festival Coordinator, Alice Thompson.

In celebration of the 10-year anniversary of the festival an exhibition is being held at the Taupō Museum from 26th September to 2nd November.

The exhibition will showcase the history of the festival and works from a selection of the 70 artists that have participated in Graffiato over the years. Many of the artists have another dimension to their practice as they make artwork in studios and regularly exhibit in galleries around the country.

"It helps the audience build an understanding of the relationship between what the artists create inside versus what they create outside," says Ross.

Being mindful of the environment is also a core focus of the festival, with festival event organisers Towncentre Taupō, continuing to improve their sustainability practices each year. Something Festival Coordinator Alice Thompson is hugely passionate about:

"We have been working towards zero waste over the past few years and we have made some real headway in this space. We are proud to say that we only produced three bags of waste last year, between two artist houses and all ten wall locations over four days."

Resene recycle the empty paint pots, while all paint trays, brushes, rollers, and spray paint caps are cleaned and reused, and the empty aerosol cans are delivered to a specialist recycling facility in

Auckland. Reusable coffee cups and water bottles are also distributed to the artists and volunteers, saving hundreds of disposable coffee cups and plastic water bottles from landfill.

"The fact that Graffiato: Taupō Street Art Festival has managed to deliver over 120 murals is a testament to the ongoing support of the Taupō community and the various organisations that have made it possible over the last ten years" says Ross.

One of the great benefits of Graffiato is that the artworks are on display all year round for everyone to see, regardless if they are in Taupō over Labour Weekend.

"The collection of murals in Taupō really does provide you with the widest look at mural art within the country, while bringing vibrancy and wonder to the town centre. Our laneways are becoming destinations themselves due to the number of quality artworks on display" says Towncentre Taupō General Manager, Julie McLeod.

A new Graffiato: Taupō Street Art Festival walking map has been produced for 2020, which highlights a selection of Graffiato’s ever-expanding portfolio of over 120 murals. Pick up a copy at the Taupō Museum, Taupō i-SITE, local cafes or download here and wander off the main streets into hidden laneways and discover this rich collection of artworks for yourself.

This year’s Graffiato: Taupō Street Art Festival sponsors are, Events Capital - Taupō District Council, Creative New Zealand, Villa Maria, Destination Great Lake Taupō, Towncentre Taupō, Taupō Access Hire, Resene and DriveEV.

Highlights video for Graffiato: Taupō Street Art Festival 2019 produced by Joel Corbie

For more information and event details go to

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