We’re incredibly lucky to be living in a time where expressing who you are and your creativity is not only allowed but it’s encouraged. From the shoes you sport to the musicians you follow, self-expression comes in many shapes and sizes.
Street art is all about splashing your creativity through large-scale murals for the public to enjoy in their everyday life. What was once hidden in crummy city corners, street art is now, thankfully, much more mainstream and celebrated.
Local street artist Gasp has found his place and created a reputation for himself within the street art community in Aotearoa and abroad. We sat down with him to talk about his creative process, maintaining his artistry and his bold new project with Doritos—designing their latest packaging.
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I’m Liam ‘Gasp’ Hindley, and I’m an Auckland-based muralist. My work involves creating custom murals, transforming surfaces into awesome works of art, as well as making my own self-directed artwork. My passion for art and creativity has been with me since childhood and I feel so lucky to have been able to make a career for myself. It’s been an incredible journey, and I wouldn’t change it for the world.
How did you get into the art form—where did it all begin?
In my teenage years in the 1990s, I had an infatuation with graffiti art. By the late 1990s and early 2000s, the vibrant street art scene in Auckland caught my attention and I realised how I could combine those skills and the reputation I had built for myself with my growing interest and fascination in the Pop Art movement of the 1960s. My path led me through graffiti art and a deep love for creativity, which ultimately evolved into a fully fledged artistic career. I began having exhibitions in artist-run galleries, showing and selling my artwork, which helped lay the foundation for a diverse artistic career.
How would you describe what you do or your style?
I combine pop-culture imagery, specifically retro and vintage imagery from the bygone eras of the 50s-80s, with the DIY attitude and pure funk I gained from graffiti. I put it all together in a blender, and what comes out is what I call a ‘mash-up’ style or a kind of painted collage composition. Also, my commissioned murals range from bold designs to intricate photo-realism, giving me a wide range of styles that inform my own style.
Your murals cover so many styles, where do you draw inspiration from?
Inspiration can come from anything and everything around me. Nature, urban life, pop-culture influences, and personal experiences all contribute to my artistic reservoir. It’s a mix of observing the world and interpreting it through my unique lens. My time spent studying graphic design has given me valuable skills that help in creating custom designs for my mural clients.
Your artwork can be pretty large-scale. How do you approach such big artworks, what’s involved?
Large-scale pieces are what I love most. They involve thorough planning, understanding the space’s dynamics, and translating ideas into something grand. It’s about capturing an idea, going through a design process, and considering the wall space area. Other times it’s just about showing up and freestyling it as I go; it really depends on the project.
How have you seen the attitudes towards graffiti change in Aotearoa?
The perspective on graffiti has evolved significantly in Aotearoa. It’s transitioned from being dismissed as vandalism to being celebrated as a powerful mode of self-expression and urban art. Communities now understand the transformative potential of street art.
You have recently teamed up with Doritos. Can you tell us a little bit about that project?
The collaboration with Doritos is incredibly exciting. We’re joining forces to celebrate art as a channel for self-expression, allowing me to share insights into my journey and creative process. It’s an amazing opportunity to connect with a broader audience.
Okay, we have to ask…fave Dorito flavour and why?
That’s a tough choice between two, but I have to say my favourite is the Burger flavour. There’s just something about that flavorful punch that captivates my taste buds. It’s like a burst of creativity in every bite, much like the energy I pour into my art. It’s amazing how flavours, much like art, can evoke such unique sensations.
What’s one of your favourite projects you’ve worked on?
It’s hard to choose but a standout is my solo art show Just Because. It allowed me to showcase a refined body of work and connect with fellow art enthusiasts. The engagement and appreciation was incredible. A recent favourite was a mural commissioned by a local community group. I loved how it brought people together and allowed me to create something that resonated with the neighbourhood. And I can’t forget this project with Doritos. As a teenager, I would have never imagined my name being on Doritos chip packages. As I said, it’s hard to choose.
Do you have any tips for young Kiwis wanting to get into street art for their own self-expression?
Be authentic and fearless. Embrace your uniqueness, experiment with different styles, and let your voice shine through your art. Street art is a powerful tool for self-expression; make it your own.
What’s next on the horizon for you?
The future holds exciting opportunities. I’m eager to explore new artistic horizons, engage in more collaborations, and continue pushing the boundaries of creativity. There’s always something new and inspiring on the horizon. Maybe another solo show is on the cards.
Image credit: Urban List and Doritos