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Teaching the art of graffiti

Opaki School’s Flynn Taylor, 12, tries his hand at spray-painting. PHOTO/CHELSEA BOYLE


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The ongoing Kokomai arts festival has made a splash at Masterton Intermediate School with some of its pupils picking up the spray can to create big artworks.

Graphic artist Sean Duffell, who is originally from Dunedin, was on hand to teach pupils from four schools across Wairarapa how to spray paint in a workshop held yesterday.

The group of about 11 pupils played pictionary using their newfound skill on large boards outdoors.

Later, they created their own individual works which they could take home.

Mr Duffell worked as graphic designer commercially before making the leap to full-time artist, a move he said was “terrifying”.

He enjoyed painting in public places because it was a great conversation starter with locals who often chipped in a few ideas of their own.

He felt “blessed” to create public works that the community ultimately felt a sense of ownership of.

His larger-than-life murals can be found around the country in Dunedin, Christchurch, Ashburton, Wellington, New Plymouth and Lower Hutt.

“Painting on walls is a great way to advertise yourself.”

They can also be found abroad as travel has played a big part in his work.

Travelling around Thailand and being able to trade artwork to get by, without chatting in English, was an incredible experience, he said. |

“It was amazing,” he said.

“Once I did that, I realised I can pretty much do anything.

“It was a huge eye-opener.”

His advice for those hoping to follow in his footsteps with their artwork is to be brave.

“Don’t be scared to just do it.”


  1. Is graffiti art or an eyesore? All of the graffiti and vandalism in the Masterton area is a disgrace. My husband and I were planning to buy here until we experienced with our own eyes the endless signs, parks, and landscapes destroyed by graffiti. The lowering of property values is sure to follow as this has apparently been going on for years and is only getting worse. The private and public property of good people is being trashed. Then, astonishingly, I stumble across this article with a celebrated quote, “Painting on walls is a great way to advertise yourself.” ?? And a picture of a boy with a spray can. What a mixed message to youth. Make up your mind Wairarapa.

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