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Collaboration brings new life to laneway

By UCOL on Friday, 16 August 2019

A photograph of UCOL creative media students

A public laneway next to UCOL Manawatū’s creative block has had a makeover thanks to a joint effort by UCOL students and alumni.

Bachelor of Creative Media students paired up with two UCOL graduates-turned-professional street artists to paint a mural across the campus walls on the alley connecting Grey and Queen Streets. The mural spreads from around the front of the Creative building down the laneway. 

The designs were a collaborative effort, with students individually choosing their own art idea and then figuring out how to combine all the pieces into the one sprawling piece of art. 

UCOL Graduates and owners of In the Shade Art Studio Mikal Carter and Gemma Farrell oversaw the project, providing guidance to the student painters. 

Gemma is full of praise for the students, most of whom had not painted a mural before.  

"They've done really well. I think it's a pretty steep learning curve. Most of the group haven't done a mural before, they're used to working digitally. It's different working on a computer screen with a tablet." 

"It's a pretty cool opportunity; not a lot of people get to do something like this. Even if it's not something that the students are going to do in the future, it's good experience and getting them out of their comfort zone is really good," says Gemma. 

Students braved the cold weather for several full days' worth of painting, across multiple weeks.  

Henna Te Whata was one of the students who were tasked with transforming the laneway. She says it provided good experience and gave some of her classmates a chance at a different form of art that what they were used to. 

Henna says it was amazing to be mentored by experienced artists like Gemma and Mikal. 

"The wealth of knowledge from those dudes is incredible. They've got so much experience. They show you how to do the little things and neat little tricks to get the fine details without wasting half your day on it." 

Photo: UCOL Bachelor of Creative Media students and mentor Gemma Farrell in front of the new mural. 

Left to right: Henna Te Whata, Gemma Farrell, Melanie Yang, Deanna Gunn and Wayne Baker