We live in Katikati. Mural Town. So when a mural artist and his girlfriend emailed to say they would like to come and do a helpxchange at our place, I didn't stop to think twice. Of course, he could create a mural in the time they were here! J (for Jonathan) Muzacz is a truly talented young American mural and tattoo artist currently travelling around New Zealand with his beautiful Japanese girlfriend Yuki.
|First we chose a wall for the mural.|
On arriving in New Zealand, Yuki and J posted us a book which he has illustrated - Japan 365 - a drawing a day, which he produced while travelling around Japan, over the course of a year. We were blown away by the gesture, as well as the magnitude of J's talent. Yuki helped put the book together and it is a window into the world that is Japan. Very interesting. So we looked forward to their arrival a month or so later.
|Day 1 of painting! Note Yuki and J's bikes parked up for a week. Their trusty steeds to transport them the length and breadth of New Zealand.|
When they arrived, we spent the first 2 days getting the mural-painting supplies. We gave J carte blanche to create a mural reflecting our lifestyle and sustainable living principles. J decided that he wanted to reflect a little of the sentiment of our home - we have so many different religious icons all around our place, so he wanted to paint a stained glass (traditional church) Buddha. We gave him free reign. Imagine my surprise when I arrived home on day 1 of his painting schedule to see half the mural already painted!! Boy, this guy can paint!
|J at work.|
After catching our first glimpse of the mural, for the remainder of the week, J would cover his work, like all good artists, so that we had to be very patient in order to see the final piece d' resistance! 4 agonising days passed and finally, on their last day with us, J unveiled the masterpiece - breathtakingly beautiful! He created this giant stained glass Buddha with the sunshine of the Bay of Plenty (and all our food-growing opportunities) on the left hand side.
|Touching up the lead-light bits.|
Unfortunately, they did not get to see it up on the wall, as we had to wait for a local builder to come and erect it.
|J at work|
After a week, it was time for J and Yuki to move on, continuing their cycle-tour of New Zealand. We arranged for a local builder to erect our mural but when he arrived, he informed us that the plywood used was indoor plywood, not suited for the outdoors. After a mini-moment of epic-panic, we discovered the solution was to paint the back and edges with 3 coats of SolarGuard paint, allowing 48hrs dry time between each coat! And trimmed with an aluminium frame for protection against rain. Man! Why does the universe send these little challenges?? I remember discussing this with J, and he asked for outdoor-ready ply! The supplier must have given him the wrong ply wood! Bugger - a lot of time and energy unnecessarily wasted in trying to water-proof it....... but then, the end result? Spectacular! As you open our gate and walk into the courtyard, Buddha gently gazes down at the Bay. Stunning!
While J painted, Yuki spent her week at our place weeding, working in the garden and cooking us wonderful Japanese food. So clean, pure and nourishing. We have always enjoyed Japanese food so this was a fantastic treat!
|The art of sushi|
|Japanese Food artfully presented|
|Our firewood stacked by Yuki, with an eye for detail! Artistically created!|
|Such attention to the art form that is Japanese cuisine!|
So we got to enjoy the company of two fine people, share ideas, food and precious time before they hopped on their bicycles to ride off into the rolling hills of New Zealand's countryside! I know that they will be leaving their mark on other homes across this beautiful landscape. We are reminded of them every time we open our front gate and Buddha welcomes us!
|Mike and I pose in front of the mural, with a copy of J's book; Japan 365|