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Kylie Gunn next to her historic Donkins Garage mural on Walter St. Photo: GORDON PREECE

Artist paints eye-catching Thames murals

Kylie Gunn has always dabbled in art and over the last 18 months has created many of Thames’ eye-catching murals.
The Thames Medical Centre nurse told The Profile her murals were another way to express herself without using words.
“I’ve always done art and over the last five years I’ve finally had the urge to do it again now that my kids are getting older,” she said.
“I do a bit of oil painting and watercolour was something else I started last year, and it’s a pleasure to have done the murals, it’s nice to make people smile in the community.
“I put a lot of thought into the meaning of them and they’ve all got completely different styles, which is really cool.”
Kylie said she tied all her murals in with their surrounding areas, including her aquaculture-themed one in The Vibe and her bird-themed one in the Kauaeranga Valley.
“My mural on Walter St was about old Thames heritage with Donkins Garage, I looked into that one to find out more information and I put in the actual telephone number from back then, which was 78,” she said.
“The one on the Thames Pumphouse [Richmond St], I did the entire block and that was just an outside bookcase which showcased pieces of Thames history.
“A little bit of steampunk, a little bit of Māori heritage, a little bit of Thames old heritage, and then just some random silly stuff written on the books.”
Kylie said her mural inspirations had also came from “crazy” thoughts at night, which was where she found inspiration for her ten coins mural on Mary St. “I started playing with New Zealand coins and putting them into an image and then it worked together and realised it would look amazing in a cave,” she said.
“Then the story I wrote on the mural plaque talks about the clashing of two different cultures, the erosion that’s caused from that but also the beauty that’s caused from that.
“That kind of stuff plays on my mind because to me it’s important that we respect history and we don’t celebrate colonialism but acknowledge the difficulties and then acknowledge the beauty that comes from it.”
Kylie also recently painted the mural for the Citizens Advice Bureau on Queen St and plans to paint a new mural next to The Vibe later this year.