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The not-so-spooky Phantom Art Project coalescing throughout Aotearoa

For most of us city dwelling folk, Phantom Billstickers’ much-lauded Poetry Project—the poster company’s ongoing mission to have verbal inspiration dotted around unassuming urban settings—has become a familiar and welcome sight. Now, with the Phantom Art Project, the company’s looking to extend the initiative's ethos to showcase the best of local visual talent.

From graphic design and photography to painting and illustration, Phantom says the Art Project is an extension of the company’s longstanding commitment to enriching the wider arts community.

“One of our statements to live by here at Phantom Billstickers is ‘Flora for the concrete jungle’, whereby we try to leave each place we touch better, and more lovely than when we found it,” says general manager Jamey Holloway.

“We hope the Art Project will be another way we can use our resources to better the lives of others; to give artists a voice, brighten a grey street or just to cause someone to pause for a moment’s thought on their way to work.”

Unlike the Poetry Project, which is spearheaded by founder Jim Wilson’s method of ‘playing it by heart’, the Art Project is structured in an open competition format and calls for submissions to be sent in from the public. 

Phantom says 10 artworks will be chosen every quarter to be published in all of Phantom’s main city centres across the country. Artists whose works were successfully chosen for this round include Chris Hutchinson (aka Chippy Draws), Rachel Rowlands (aka Marshyskull), Gabs Tiongson (aka DIKO), Alicia Pang (aka AAPPA-PAPPA), Vincent Konrad and Armin Riedel.AAPPA-PAPPA), Vincent Konrad and Armin Riedel.

“In terms of picking the artwork we put on the streets, we include all of our staff in the judging process,” says Holloway. “Everyone gets five stickers and can vote for their favourite artworks, which are put up in the office. From there we use a small group of our creative team to choose our winners.”

“The second criteria is impact; the work has to capture the viewer's attention at first glance. With street posters, you have a short window of opportunity to engage people and we choose artwork that we believe is effective in this way,” he says.  

So far, Phantom has reported an overwhelming response to its first round of submissions, leading to the project becoming a permanent fixture in company's ever-growing roster of creative pursuits.

The next set of art project submissions closes 1 June.

This story first appeared at StopPress.