Kāinga Ora told Joanne Bennett to stop painting, now homeowners are commissioning her to transform their fences

New Plymouth-based artist Joanne Bennett created a mural on a fence in Waitara after Kāinga Ora stopped her painting outside of her own apartment complex.

ANDY JACKSON / things

New Plymouth-based artist Joanne Bennett created a mural on a fence in Waitara after Kāinga Ora stopped her painting outside of her own apartment complex.

An artist who was ordered by the state housing agency to stop painting murals outside her home has not put her brush down – and instead paints a mural outside someone else’s home.

Joanne Bennett is turning a sleek white brick wall on Broadway in Waitara into a mural for homeowner Vicki Logan-Keller.

“I saw how big it was and I thought, yeah, I didn’t do anything that big, so I want to give it a try,” said Bennett

On Tuesday, she was a few days from completing the mural she started in December, which she spent about 100 hours doing.

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Bennett has become a well-known mural painter on site after painting three on brick walls at the front of the state housing complex she lives on on Lemon Street, New Plymouth.

Despite positive feedback from neighbors, she was in the middle of completing a fourth mural when Kāinga Ora put an end to it. The agency said it did not want to draw unnecessary attention to their apartments.

Bennett's new mural on Broadway in Waitara is expected to be ready in the next few days.

ANDY JACKSON / things

Bennett’s new mural on Broadway in Waitara is expected to be ready in the next few days.

“The person who said they wanted it stopped is in another town and has nothing to do with our community,” said Bennett.

After receiving letters of support, she launched a petition to prove that she had the support of the community and collected hundreds of signatures.

“I don’t take this stuff for granted. I really appreciate that. “

But she still had to take the petition to Kāinga Ora.

Bennett estimates that she spent at least 100 hours painting the mural.

ANDY JACKSON / things

Bennett estimates that she spent at least 100 hours painting the mural.

“There was nothing but positivity, encouragement and work. And people everywhere want more of it, “she said.

Logan-Keller approached Bennett to create a mural on her wall after seeing her murals on Lemon Street.

But she wanted it to represent Waitara, with a special request for a Tūī and Pōhutukawa tree – which is a challenge for the artist.

“I’m still learning. I’ve never made trees and I haven’t made birds, so doing something outside of my comfort zone is a challenge for me too.”

ANDY JACKSON / things

“I’ve never made trees and I haven’t made birds, so doing something outside of my comfort zone is a challenge for me too.”

But she was proud of what she had painted, which she does for “love and passion” and not for financial reasons, even though her money was offered.

“It’s not about doing it for a profit at all. It does it to learn and to give.

“People stop all the time, that’s my pay to have that kind of effect on people.”

Once Bennett finishes the mural she will move on to another. She has been inundated with inquiries from businesses and property owners in Waitara, New Plymouth, and even her hometown of Porirua.

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