NZ Mural Contest and Art Festival: Katikati Open Air Art 2017: The Future is our Children


ARTbop Contributor Lee Switzer brings you his text and photo essay of the recent NZ Mural Contest and Art Festival 2017

The winners of the 2017 NZ Mural Contest were the Australian father and son team Kerry and Jack Nicholson from Queensland.   There was however a significant process behind being selected to participate in the Katikati Open Air Art. 

The artists finally selected for the mural contest brought with them their ‘miniature’ painting for the proposed larger mural. Photographs of the art were first submitted to the organisation. The ‘miniature’ had to be 480mm x 960mm in landscape format. The mural to be  painted on an undercoated 1200mm x 2400 landscape format panel provided by the organisation. The winning mural will be anti graffiti coated.

The artists started painting on Monday 2 October and completed the work by 2pm on Saturday 7 October: that was the time the mural had to be finished.  From there the art was moved to the Katikati War Memorial Hall  for a Saturday afternoon audience inspection and judging by a committee.

The festival winner was announced at 6:30pm, on Saturday night The winner received $7,000 and the winning large mural becomes the property of Katikati.  The decision  on where to display the art in Katikati is made after the competition.  All other works may be sold by the artist.

Here’s a run down on the talented artists who participated in the NZ Mural Contest 2017

Bodhi Vincent

Bodhi makes his home in Paraparaumu. He answered a cell phone while painting. After a few minutes, he apologised to the caller saying ‘I’m painting right now and keep losing my place.’ End of conversation.

                  Consumer Tree. Bodhi is also a sculptor who works in clay and wood.

 Crystal Barbre                 Crystal Barbre is based in  Seattle  

       Crystal’s studio In Katikati was in Hammer Hardware.

 Frances Wregg

Frances Wregg received loads of suggestions from her grandchildren about what toys,  and    science they like every day.

         Some gadgets, Frances learned, were never in her vocabulary – like Transformers.

 Kerry and son Jack Nicholson

Kerry and Jack Nicholson hail from Queensland.

For part of this mural planning, Jack stood behind a clear glass pane and wrote a formula on the glass. Kerry photographed the scene.

                       Jack Nicholson tries to remember what formula he was writing.

Kerry Nicholson

Karen Lawson

Multi-talented Karen Lawson is a committed member of the The Incubator in Tauranga.  Karen is also an accomplished guitarist and singer. She moved to Katikati last November.                       Karen’s sketch exploring her own recesses for ideas.

The lower portion of this photograph shows the culmination of loose flowing of divergent and intermixed ideas that developed into an exuberant playground of wonder.

      Karen hears a greeting at the door and turns to see more friends visiting to see her work.

Other mural artist in contest were Nicolas Hudson and previous winner Shane Walker.

Weather conditions were not a problem. Each artist painted their mural inside a Katikati business.

Bodhi Vincent – Ambria Restaurant

Crystal Barbre – Hammer hardware

Frances Wregg – Arts Crafts & Murals Shop

Kerry and Jack Nicholson – Festival Hub

Karen Lawson – Katikati Advertiser

Nicolas Hudson – Talisman Hotel

Shane Walker – Café @ The Balcony

The Katikati Art Group Expo exhibited many art works in the Katikati War Memorial Hall. This group meets regularly in its rooms at the War Memorial Hall.

Troubadour Caroline Just came from Wellington to Kaitkati for her 17th year to play.

During the Festival sculptures were on display in Diggleman Park.        John Fitzgerald The Future Lain in the Past II

Lee Switzer: Lee is a regular contributor to ARTbop – photo essays, articles and poetry. Lee is multi-talented producing sought-after images of local artists and exhibitions. He has been an archival photographer around Tauranga and the Bay of Plenty for some years – the details of this body of work are below. You can find examples of Lee’s contributions in our ARTbop archives.

More photos by Lee Switzer


AND WHILE YOU’RE HERE TAKE A LOOK AT THE ARTICLES contributed by Katikati artist Birgitt Shannon about the NZ Mural contest



 ARTbop and The Black Sheep Bar & Grill have gotten together to create the ‘Affordable Art & Artisan Fair’ which will take place on the last Sunday of every month excluding December starting on the 26th November and run from 11am – 3pm.

This event will be open to local artists and artisans who produce high quality, original, handmade pieces. We are looking for a commitment to four fairs (Nov, Jan, Feb & March) at a cost of $40 ($10 per fair). The great news is there will be no commission.

The Black Sheep has a large outdoor area ideal for setting up trestle tables. Much of it is under cover. There is also a big area where marquees can be set up. Although the venue is large there will be a selection process if there isn’t room for everyone.

ARTbop will be conducting a widespread advertising campaign and this, along with the good food at Black Sheep and the wonderful ambience of the venue, are sure to make this fair a huge ongoing success. Don’t miss your chance to be a part of it. Email your details including your website to Birgitt at



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