The magic of Christmas and the vibrant summer vibes have arrived in the heart of the city!

The city centre streets are adorned with spectacular and colourful flags and pavement artwork designed by prominent Kiwi artist Sara Hughes.

The inspiration behind the designs are celebratory in nature and takes references from shapes and angles from the urban landscape it sits amongst.

There are four different designs installed which you can check out until the end of January along Queen Street and surrounding Fanshawe Street, Britomart and Federal Street.

We caught up with Sara Hughes to find out more about her beautiful work:

What inspired your artwork for Auckland’s Heart of the City? Where did you draw your inspiration?

My starting point was to create a work that celebrated Auckland. I reference abstract forms from the city – I traced shadows and bitumen patches on the road and combined them with geometric contours found on buildings. I collected these positive and negative shapes and created new compositions; using collage and water colour - combining the gestural and the graphic.

Could you tell us a bit about what the partnership with Heart of the City means to you, and outline any particular connection you feel to the city centre?

I worked with HOTC in 2016 when I painted Sunburst on a wall in Fort Lane. It’s fantastic that HOTC value the visual arts and create opportunities for artists to engage with the city - it allows art to become part of the urban experience. The intention of my public works is that they create moments of encounter for people in their daily lives. I live in Auckland, it’s the city I spent my teenage years in, where I went to University and where I returned to after living all over the world - its special.

Could you tell us about the process and medium you used to create the unique flags and footpath artwork?

I have worked with flags before and I love the possibilities of their constant movement. In this work I combine them with pavement decals that can be walked over. You discover the work as you walk the length of Queen Street… I am looking forward to the surprise of seeing it all up.

Both the flags and the pavement decals needed to be bold and to have a strong presence in the busy city scape. I combined water colour paintings with hand cut collaged elements, then I scanned my artwork and enhanced it using computer programs to create shadow and depth. The pavement decals are printed onto a textured substrate that sticks to the footpath, hundreds of individual elements runs the length of Queen Street.

Any other unique or notable points you would like to share?

I have been busy working on this project along with a new exhibition for Auckland Art Gallery All My Favourite Shapes that opens on the 30th of November. It’s been an exciting time having the opportunity to create two new works for my city.

With special thanks to Sara Hughes and the teams at Soar Print, Lemonade and Shout Media.

Last updated: 17 June 2020