Fresh canvas . . . Artists (from left) Dave Kingan, Luzette Crossan with her daughter Laura-Ann (8), Philina den Dulk, and Matthew Wicks stand before the wall they will transform into a piece of art. PHOTO: RUBY HEYWARD

When others see a plain wall, artists see a canvas.

At least that is the case for Al Bell, Philina den Dulk, Luzette Crossan, Dave Kingan and Matthew Wicks.

Their latest canvas is the wall behind Oamaru’s Badger & Mackerel cafe, where the five artists would create a mural that was “uniquely Oamaru”.

As part of the Waitaki Arts Festival, the artists would spend this weekend creating the mural.

Wicks, who was the festival’s street art co-ordinator, said the content of the mural would remain a mystery until the weekend.

The artists all had distinct styles and artistic backgrounds, which he believed would enhance the “vibrancy” of the piece.

“We have never worked on something together, especially to this scale,” he said.

“We all agree on the opinion that Oamaru needs more street art.

“We want people to see this art and think it’.”

But they did not want to touch any Oamaru stone buildings, which were “art in their own right” and should never see a coat of paint, Wicks said.

In the project’s planning stages, Wicks put the “feelers out” to local business to seeif any were interested.

Many expressed a keen interest – but Badger & Mackerel was chosen for its centrality and public access.

To Wicks, street art was approachable, and was made more so by its inclusion in the Waitaki Arts Festival.

Wicks said there was a lot of creative work happening around him when he was growing up in Oamaru, but he, and others like him, had little exposure to it.

Wicks wanted to inspire young people to get involved in art. That was why the artists were inviting the public along to watch them create the piece, he said.

As part of the Waitaki Arts Festival, the artists would work on the mural behind the Badger & Mackerel cafe tomorrow and Saturday.

If it was not finished this weekend, they would complete the mural on October 22 and 23.