Auckland – West                          Mainly West of Queen Street – seen through my lens

March 24, 2010

Painted Boxes: Caught in the Act

In this post we pay tribute to the artists who liven up our neighbourhoods with paintings on utility boxes (transformers, traffic control boxes, telecommunications cabinets, etc). Nearly three years ago, I started taking pictures of these works, occasionally inclusive of the artist. This is a compilation of such images. Bear in mind that the paintings on display are unfinished, the finished products might feature in other posts.

The artists I caught in the act:

  • Mark Whyte
  • Edith Diggle
  • Diane Carter
  • Diane Ruth Rimmer
  • Shelley Slater

A big thanks to them, and of course to all other artists participating in these efforts. We should also acknowledge the sponsors of these projects: City councils/power companies/paint manufacturers. The boxes shown in this post are all in Waitakere City, where these projects are administered by Julie Nash, Community Arts Coordinator. I am indebted to her for some additional information incorporated below. These are her details:
Julie D. Nash
Community Arts Coordinator, Waitakere City Council, Private Bag 93109, Henderson 0650.
Ph 836 8000 extn 8934. Julie.Nash@waitakere.govt.nz

The first image shows Mark Whyte painting a transformer in Glenview Road (map), bringing together various Glen Eden Scenes: the cemetery (which is right behind the hedge), the railway station and its cafe “Pumped”, the Chapel of Faith in the Oaks, with the Waitakere Ranges and the foothills as backdrop. I remember, it was a cold day with a biting Sou’westerly blowing across the ridge. Just a few metres up from here is the Glen Eden welcome sign.

Mark Whyte also participates in next weekend’s Waitakere Artists’ Open Studio Weekend 2010. He will be pleased to welcome you in his studio at 13A Woodglen Rd, Glen Eden, on March 27/28.

Mark Whyte in Glenview Road, June 2009

Mark Whyte in Glenview Road, June 2009

The first time I saw Mark, he was painting a transformer at Westgate (map). In his unique way, he used scenes of mangroves and buildings from the Massey area.

Mark Whyte at Westgate (March 2008)

Mark Whyte at Westgate (March 2008)

Just a few days ago, Mark was busy in Glendale Road (map), Glen Eden, with a box showing the Playhouse Theatre which we have featured here before.

Mark Whyte in Glendale Road (March 2010)

Mark Whyte in Glendale Road (March 2010)

Right now, Edith Diggle is taking care of a couple of boxes in Hollywood Avenue (map), Waima, Titirangi. Native flax and rimu and kauri trees surround the ducks so typical of the area. Since this shot was taken, the ducklings have taken on their yellow colour, and Edith told me that over time the scenery will be populated with all manner of smaller wildlife – we live in anticipation.

Edith Diggle in Hollywood Avenue (March 2010)

Edith Diggle in Hollywood Avenue (March 2010)

My very first ‘catch’ of an artist painting a box was Diane Carter of Karekare, painting this transformer in Atkinson Road, Titirangi (map), in bold hibiscus livery.

Diane Carter in Atkinson Road (May 2007)

Diane Carter in Atkinson Road (May 2007)

In Titirangi Road, I found Diane Ruth Rimmer working on this transformer; just imagine the painstaking work with all the cooling fins! She depicts the misty moods of the Waitakere Ranges. Unfortunately, some time ago the transformer changed colour to a uniform green – a victim of a road accident.

Diane Ruth Rimmer in Titirangi Road (June 2007)

Diane Ruth Rimmer in Titirangi Road (June 2007)

The artist transforming the transformer at the corner of Hepburn and Culperry Roads (map) is Shelley Slater, covering it in nasturtiums. This photo was also taken on a very cold day – easy to take the shot, much tougher to brave the cold for hours!

Shelley Slater  in Hepburn Road (June 2008)

Shelley Slater in Hepburn Road (June 2008)

1 Comment

  1. These are such fantastic artists who have really transformed those transformer boxes ;)

    Comment by Jayne — March 24, 2010 @ 10:51 am

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