I recently was commissioned to do a mural for a creative agency based in Auckland, New Zealand called TRUE. An amazing agency who do some really cool work for clients such as Air New Zealand (and other fancy pants companies).

TRUE do some pretty cool stuff like this video that they did for Air New Zealand.

Travelling is always cool – you get to make new friends and see a different part of the world, and New Zealand has been on the list of places I wanted to experience and especially for a Durban illustrator that is isolated from contemporary influences. First up on arrival, after settling in, was a walk through the city hunting for unique signage (a little hobby I like to do – I’m a sucker for quirky Graphic Design!). This signage for a grocery store just up the road, got me all gooey like. Yeah!

The biggest thing that I love to do while travelling is NOT to do the touristy site seeing stuff. My idea of an overseas trip is to live as much as a local as possible. For the eight days that I took to do the mural, I caught a bus from the hostel to the True offices located in Ponsonby Road – about twenty minutes commute from the CBD. This was my bus stop from the infamous and kinda sleazy – K’ ROAD.

When I paint a mural in a new place, I like to check out the area before I start. A nice walk around a suburb is a good way to get a vibe. Epic houses – super safe compared to South Africa and lots of murals around in the area. Ponsonby now has some RESOBORG stickers on street poles – BOOM! House prices will now triple I tell ya!

After a few emails and sketches, my final concept was working on the idea of merging two images together to tell a story influenced by hieroglyphics. I named the mural truoglyphics to create a new word using the two words ‘true’ and ‘hieroglyphics’ I looked at creating a new language of signs and symbols that can be interpreted in multiple ways. You’ll see things like an eye and a fish merged together as one icon. This represents the idea that something is fishy, which accentuates the concept of discovering the truth. The whole mural was made up of various icons which followed in the same vein of a concept with double meaning behind them to portray aspects of the company’s ethos.

The total size of the mural was 10m x 4m so hard to capture in one photo but you can see whole artwork in the video below that pans across the length of it!

Late nights at the agency meant quiet streets in Ponsonby. Where is everyone? Perhaps at the Anarchist Interpretive Dance Party?? 10/10 for DIY design for this poster! Great font, great artwork and 10 scene points for black and white printing! Yeah!

After the mural was completed, I actually did do some tourist stuff! (blushes). The sky tower is pretty awesome and I went up there to check out the sunset. You get to see a lot of the little islands around and a good overview of the city.

I can’t go to a city without checking out local bookstores. Mag Nation!! Get your geek on yo.

Stokage levels hit an all time high with the abundance of coffee shops in Auckland, but I was on the hunt to find a unique little spot without the usual hipster steampunk aesthetic going on. Enter Fred’s, located on the corner of Ponsonby and some other road. This little space had a cool vibe going on, down to earth and super, super good coffee and cakes! Great to hang out and be contemplative about the fact that I am basically hanging out at the end of the world!! Dang.

I just loved these little wooden décor items at Fred’s!

Auckland has epic parks all over and in this one you can see the sky tower! You can pretty much see this Star Trek influenced building all over Auckland (beam me up Kiwi!). You can’t escape it! Perhaps Big Brother sits at the top and keeps an eye on any possible criminal behaviour. hmmm. This park is opposite the awesome gallery Endemic World!

There are loads of international bands that come out here, I missed some epic shows due to the mural project, but I got to do some alleyway adventuring and discovered some unique murals – this one I really liked. Alleyways are where it’s at I tell you.

Last on my agenda was to check out the west coast and a trip to the Auckland War Memorial Museum. The music room was super cool which showcased Kiwi music from the 60’s up until now. Historical punk bands; lyric notes from Crowded House and Lorde gave me an intimate interaction with a bit of Kiwi music history.

I was also lucky enough to check out Greg Straight’s art studio in Birkenhead! I was pretty excited about this! A quick ferry ride from Auckland central is all it took to meet Greg, Hannah and their awesome kids! His studio is amazing and it looks across the ocean! Greg and his wife also gave me some super cool prints on wood that they sell. Check out Greg’s prints over here and Duett’s prints here. Thanks for the homemade pizza guys!

Wave hunting!

It’s always rad to get some keepsakes on a trip! Here is what I took back home: Tofutree Tote bag for the wife, prints on wood by Greg, Geometric prints on wood by Duett, Moomin (Finnish Cartoon series) pocket notebook and Smith Journal that came with a fold out New Zealand poster!