Spray-can artist Wongi transforms skate park

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Wongi Wilson with his aerosol cans on day one of the art project at Ashburton Skate Park.

By Mick Jensen

Renowned professional graffiti artist Wongi Wilson has been adding his art and style to the walls at Ashburton Skate Park.

The Christchurch-based artist has been spraying designs that incorporate his own impressive street style and also ideas supplied from the Ashburton community.

Mountains, white water, salmon fishing and farming influences are all suggested design ideas and will feature in the art project that began on Monday.

The artist has worked on site this week and the finished results will be unveiled at a launch on Saturday, complete with a skate jam run by Cheapskates Skate Skool.

Ashburton District Council and Safer Ashburton have combined on the street art initiative and commissioned Wilson to do the work.

The primer paint for the project was sponsored by Resene and the Department of Corrections Ashburton office arranged for those on a community work sentence to get off the old paint and to apply the primer.

Mr Wilson said he had contributed to the art at Ashburton Skate Park more than 10 years ago and he was happy to be back.

“It’s in need of a refresh and that’s what I’m here to do.”

He said his technique had grown since his last visit and he was excited to be incorporating ideas from the community into his own graffiti art imagery.

He usually worked from photos, “sketched” in freehand with spray paint and then added definition and colour.

Mr Wilson has been a full-time exhibiting and commissioned artist for the last nine years.

His medium of choice is the aerosol can.

He specialises in large scale murals, mixing elements of graffiti and photo-realism.

The community is invited to the skate park launch, which begins at noon on Saturday.

As well as the skate jam, Ashburton Youth Council will be running a sausage sizzle.

The skate park is on West Street, between Farmers and McDonald’s.