painting Tauranga’s stories

Alex McLeod with the Leisure Island-themed Chorus cabinet in Salisbury Ave. Photo: John Borren.

Urban wall artist Alex McLeod has completed nearly 20 murals around Tauranga, delighting the public with his marine and wildlife themes painted across buildings, walls and cabinets.

A new addition to his artistic journey has been the recently completed Leisure Island-themed painting on a Salisbury Ave Chorus cabinet.

“For this round of Chorus Cabinets they set the theme of Tauranga histories and stories,” says Alex. “The story of Moturiki was interesting and a curious and bizarre tale. 

“Originally it was a Maori terraced pa site, then the Crown took ownership in 1911 and quarried it to build local railways. That left deep pits in the island. Marineland opened in 1966 with dolphins, seals and chimpanzees. Then Leisure Island, another venture opened there, using the pools for swimming, bumper boats and a hydro slide.”

He found a lot of people stopped to watch him paint the Leisure Island theme.

“They had fond memories of it.”

Last year Alex painted a mural at Fraser Cove and another in 18th Ave. Also one not far from home in Papamoa; and a cabinet on The Strand which features yachts - a timely reminder of the Tauranga Yacht and Power Boat Club’s 100 years celebration this year.

His work can also be found on a wall at the Mount Maunganui McDonalds carpark and at the Golden Sands Excelsa Centre carpark.

A painter and decorator for a few years before getting into murals, Alex knows a thing or two about prepping the paint surface correctly and which paints are best to use.

“I like the Resene paints and Resene Lumbersider as they are built to last. I also use Molotow and Montana spray paint.”

Coming from a background in graphic design, illustration and signwriting, Alex likes to work to people’s briefs, taking commissions.

“Since my first taste of it, large scale outdoor painting has been my art form of choice. I consider each project in its context with the aim to create concept-driven, visually harmonious designs.

“I see the opportunity to make public art as a privilege and hence strive to give my all to each job, exploring new ideas, styles and mediums.”

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