From student to mentor

Jeremiah’s journey began in 2015, when she was paired with artist Sean Yoro (Hula). Photo: Tracey Hardy.

At 18-years-old, Phoebe Robinson, better known as Jeremiah, was one of many who took part in a youth mentor programme for one of Mount Maunganui’s most iconic festivals.

Now, at 20, she’s running alongside the big-guns, as one of 17 artists from around the globe taking part in Street Prints Mauao this weekend.

“I feel like this is the start of something big,” says Jeremiah. “I’m stoked.”

Her journey began in 2015, when she was paired with artist Sean Yoro (Hula).

“I was fresh out of high school, sketching maybe once a year and noticed a gallery near a friends’ workplace.

"I went in to ask if they could display some of my work and was told about an upcoming street art festival. They asked if I wanted to volunteer.”

It was an experience which changed her life, she says.

“The friendships I developed are so valuable. Sean and many other artists still keep in contact with me, and it’s an amazing support network to have.

“And here I am now, actually in the festival. It’s crazy.”

She says she’s most grateful to the event’s curators, Jah and Lovie Smith.

“Most kids don’t know what they want to do with their future, and I think their youth programme helped me to envision what I wanted to do with mine.

“They helped me to get my first wall and continued helping me long after the festival was over.”

She says she’s ready to step up from being mentored, to mentoring.

“I’m really passionate about what I do, and about getting people passionate about what they do. I’m still so inspired from my experience and I feel this will rub off automatically on whoever I mentor.”

Locals can expect to see an all-new side to her art, says Jeremiah.

“All I can say is that in the past, I’ve played it quite safe in my art, but this time around I’ve stepped out of my element and it’s a lot different.

“The piece I’m working on is really quite self-aware. It’s about looking past yourself and your exterior image.”

The festival runs from December 14 through to Sunday at spots around Mount Maunganui. For more information, visit: www.streetprints.org