Maryana Garcia - Painting the H-Town

Art brings people together because at the (he)art of art is sharing. Through art, artists and viewers can share feelings, opinions, disagreements, and other aspects of human experience in vivid colour. The shared experience of art can in turn spark connections between people, ideas, and communities.

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Street Art

Arguably no art form understands the value of shared experience better than street art. Street art, in its many shapes and sizes, is about bringing messages to the community at large. It’s about transforming shared spaces into transcendent spaces. It’s about making you look twice at something you might have walked or driven by fifty times that same week. It’s about getting a crowd of individuals together and turning them into a united front. Street art is about believing that creativity has the power to change minds and hearts.

True to the spirit of artists such as Banksy, Shepherd Fairey, Blu, and C215, street artists around the globe are inspiring change with spray cans and stencils. Most recently here in Aotearoa, local artists have also banded together to vivify the streets of Christchurch. And it’s exciting to see that the transformative power of street art has made its way to the Waikato.

Photo provided by BOON Hamilton Street Art

Photo provided by BOON Hamilton Street Art

The BOON Street Art Festival

If you were in Hamilton sometime last year you may have noticed the sudden spike in the number of painted alley walls around the CBD. At the very least you would have noticed the amazing work that seemed to appear on one side of our beloved Meteor Theatre. Or maybe you just wondered what all your “artsy” friends were doing when they started changing their profile pics on social media. The image of laughing Millennials standing next to a vibrant mural (Location: Grey Street) was definitely #trending in some circles.

Whether you consider yourself a marginal hipster who is up with all the creative happenings in town. Whether or not you noticed all of the above and just wondered, we have BOON Hamilton Street Art to thank for making our city...

Less grey. More awesome.

Why care?

Because this is our place and it's worth talking about.  It is a here and now worth celebrating. And who else is going to celebrate it but us? Who is going to make the Waikato a happening region? We are. Our home should say something about us. It should be as vibrant and amazing as the people who live here. 

So this March 8-11...

Let's support the Boon Street Art Festival's return as it makes Hamilton look twice (as awesome as it already is.)  This is a festival which calls for active participation. When we go to Boon:

We are asked to have an experience of a piece of art in common, outside, while we rub shoulders with each other as part of a community.

Those were the words Max Harris wrote for The Dial and they could not be more true this month. BOON has assembled a crew of 10 fantastic artists who will put the metaphorical writing on 9 walls around the Tron.

Want more info?

Check out BOON’s Facebook page. But aside from that I’ve put together a little list of some of the artists featured in this year’s festival so that you #LivingLit readers can get a bit of an introduction to their life and times before you go and enjoy BOON’s three days of live art making. I would not presume to introduce these stars. I think that their art speaks for itself. Instead I've included links to their social media pages and websites where I could. All photos are courtesy of BOON.

Some of our BOON 2018 Artists (in no particular order):


Jodi McBride


Rachel Peary


Gina Kiel


Ali Selliman


Charles and Janine Williams


Ahsin Ahsin


Kell Sunshine

The Message? Home is where the art is.

What can we learn from street art that will help us #LiveLit? It seems that Hamilton’s own brand of street art is not only about protest. It’s about celebration. The BOON Festival can teach us to find art where we are, in the here and now. To make art out of our everyday. To be the artists we want to see in Aotearoa. You don’t need to be Banksy to make a difference. You don’t need to go to Europe to start having international conversations. Your answers are not just “out there” but right here.

What BOON Hamilton Street Art Festival proves is that our spaces can be special if we make them so.

Want to make your mark on the Waikato?

  • Click and explore all the links in this blog post. What you find may make a mark on you.

  • Check out Hamilton Central’s Facebook page for more opportunities for celebrating our unique home.

  • Follow me on Instagram as I go on poetic journeys around Hamilton and the Waikato. Next week's theme is street art.

  • Check out ZEAL to find out more ways you can make a positive difference in the life of a young person. You’ll be surprised by the change in yourself as well.

  • Support our local creative community at the upcoming Makers Markets.

  • If you haven’t already, sign up for Seed’s mailing list and join our movement towards a vibrant Waikato.

  • Take a step towards making your home a work of art, check out these de-cluttering tips from the Minimalists.


Maryana Garcia

Maryana is a firm believer in the power of storytelling. You can find her poetry on Instagram.