When it comes to a main street organisation that really works for you, Karangahape Road Business Association is pretty hard to beat, bang for buck wise. They work hard to get you playing, and paying, hard at the various businesses that line the street and surrounding neighbourhoods. One of the jewels in this cultural crown is First Thursdays, which is a thrice yearly gravity well into which many from the visual, audio and performance arts come together in one place for others to enjoy and to enjoy each other.
Now, it looks like Parnell has taken notice, and have moved the goalposts of plagiarism just far enough in dubbing their own event Lazy Last Sundays. Only, there are a couple of potential flaws in that title. Lazy, given the gentrified environment of Parnell, is perhaps the last adjective one should be attaching to the notion of art, an aspect of culture that is no doubt seen to enjoy too much of the nation’s tax dollars already, even under this National government, for the ‘self made’ men and women of one of Auckland’s more wealthy suburbs. Last Sundays evokes sort of an end times feel, which pulled together with the lazy suggests perhaps a dying of the artists and their lazy ways, and encourages the rich to come and watch their death throes.
Not necessarily the way I’d choose to promote an art event, and at 70 likes on Facebook since October 2012, the jury is out on whether others feel the same way.
Still, I found myself wandering down Parnell Road to see what I could see, and catch up with artist Paul Walsh. Paul has become somewhat of an obsession of mine, and at the end of this post you’ll see a collection of the paintings of his that I own. One piece in particular, from the They Came From Mt Roskill series, rarely fails to elicit a positive response from clients who come in to my office, and see Auckland’s iconic harbour bridge under attack from a giant, minotaur driven space craft. He’s also slowly building mindshare in NZ’s popular culture, having pieces in the fore and background of local television (Almighty Johnsons) and film (Sione’s Wedding 2: Unfinished Business). Organisers for the event billed the event as taking place 11am – 4pm. We strolled down from the top of Parnell Road around 1:30pm, and didn’t spot anyone on the way down to Paul’s spot on the corner of Parnell Road and Gibraltar Crescent. After saying a quick hello, we ventured farther down the road to see what was supposed to be happening in Heard Park, and found the following sight:
When we got here, it seemed the installation was bare, besides the music. In fact it was so empty I wondered for a moment if the whole thing wasn’t an art installation of its own.
That’s not to say there weren’t art galleries you could visit as well, but that feels besides the point, given that those art galleries are there, event or not. What attracts for its distinction is surely having artists create before your eyes on the street. The awareness is so low that a woman approached me while I was watching Paul paint to ask if I had permission for what we were doing. Hopefully the event will grow though, and the artists more abundant as the location has potential, and the stroll up and down Parnell pleasant.
If you like what you saw of Paul’s piece Poseidon, I’d suggest getting in contact with him to bug him for a price. Unfortunately my walls are pretty much full of his stuff now, so I’m out of the market. Don’t let that stop you though. Alternately, if you’re in the mood for something a little smaller, check out his Red Bubble store.