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High Rise Art To Brighten Auckland Rush-Hour

Auckland art student Matt Dowman has begun work on one of the most ambitious artworks New Zealand has ever seen.

The 27-year-old art student has abandoned canvas in favour of a 24-metre billboard, which will be unveiled above passing motorists in Symonds Street on Saturday, November 11.

Now in his second year at Whitecliffe College of Art & Design, Matt is the first student to take part in a new art initiative, launched by local Internet company Ihug.

Over the next few months, Ihug will provide free space on the billboard, allowing young artists to showcase their creative talents. The art will be a welcome arrival for commuters on the slow journey through rush hour traffic in busy Newton Gully.

As well as providing a venue no local gallery can match, Ihug is also donating paints and other materials for the colourful works.

Matt says the move from canvas to billboard was daunting at first, but after weeks of work he is now enjoying the big change in scale.

The painting already contains a diverse range of images, which address and comment on the theme "It's a small world after all".

"The work itself is a narrative, where I look at how technology has affected the way we receive, communicate and interpret information here in New Zealand," he says.

"It runs like a piece of film strip; recording or capturing segments of time.

"The images I have used are a mixture of pop and urban/street art. I have reinforced these images with strong colour, lettering and poster design with a strong emphasis on globalisation and the effect of technology on New Zealand".

Ihug Director Tim Wood says the billboard exhibition is aimed an encouraging up and coming artists.

"This is a great opportunity for emerging talent to work with 'live' advertising media," he says.

"What we are offering is a space where artists can discuss and exhibit their own work using a very loose creative brief."

The billboard art will enjoy a huge audience including tens of thousands of people passing by. The exhibition's progress will also be promoted to more than 60 thousand Ihug customers via a web cam on the Ihug website.

Each artwork is expected to take several weeks to complete and will remain on show for two months.


Greg Ward Media Liaison Ihug Phone: (09) 521 2410 Mobile: 025 387 037 Email:

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