Fuseworks Media

First piece in collaborative public art programme unveiled – TLC

A collaboration between well-known Waitomo artist and educator Daniel Ormsby and The Lines Company (TLC) has turned a roadside electrical transformer into a stunning piece of public art.

All going to plan, the newly painted transformer will be the first of many to be unveiled across TLC’s network over coming months and years. The Te Kuiti transformer on Te Kumi Road (SH3) is one of thousands owned by TLC and over recent months – and between rain showers – it has slowly changed from drab green to a stunning art piece. In a Facebook post celebrating its completion, Daniel said the piece “represents the receiving of spiritual energy and the utilisation of it to enhance and prosper in our lives.”

He said while painting the transformer over many months, he had been “blown away” by the positive response. He said he was grateful for the trust and flexibility from the crew at TLC to “let me do my thing”.

Now that it’s complete, those same sentiments have been echoed by TLC chief executive Mike Fox who caught up with Daniel on site when the work was complete.

“I think it’s amazing, really stunning,” Mike said. “Who knew a transformer could look so good?”

He said TLC had been trying to get the public art programme off the ground for some time but it had proven more complex than originally thought. “As this rolls out, we want to make sure we take locals with us on the journey and that the programme can fit around our own maintenance schedule. And of course, transformers are electrical equipment so we will always prioritise safety.”

Mike said the project, led by TLC’s customer and community engagement team, aimed to foster community pride, bring people together and empower the community to make a difference.

“We know transformers can be pretty ugly, even though they’re essential. But with support from the community, we can turn what some might consider an eyesore into something really, really special. What Daniel has done is amazing and I’m looking forward to seeing more of these, reflecting local places.”

TLC was now considering where to take the programme next, taking into account ongoing work on the network and the suitability of individual transformers. “Our aim is to get a few done in various towns to get the ball rolling and see where it goes from there. We’re hoping that will encourage local artists to reach out so, over time, we can work together to create something really special in our communities.”


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