10 Oct 2016

Gary Silipa: from illegal graffiti to art gallery director

From Nine To Noon, 10:06 am on 10 October 2016

Gary Silipa used to be what you could describe as an undercover artist.

By day he was working in a 9 to 5 job in IT, by night he was expressing his artistic side through illegal graffiti around the streets of Auckland.

He soon came to realise that art was his true passion and it is now, after some bumps along the way, his day job.

Still using outdoor walls as canvasses, Gary has now opened an art gallery in Glen Innes, and is featured in this year's Artweek Auckland with more of his outdoor art in the form of murals in laneways around Glen Innes.

Gary, who grew up in East Auckland and who is the son of Samoan immigrants, started off just tagging.

Gary Silipa

Gary Silipa Photo: supplied

“Just writing your name, but as time went on I learnt that there was more than that there was more than just writing your name down, you can do that up to a point I guess.”

And the eastern corridor was his canvas.

“On the back of the buildings where the train line was, it was pretty quiet a lot of the time that was a five minute walk down to the train tracks with your bag of paint and you’d be able to paint without much interference or disturbance.”

Working at night, after work was over, offered a kind of solitude, he says.

“At night time a lot of people just go to sleep, there’s not so much noise outside so when you’re out and about at night time you feel a sense of being alive, that it’s you and the world.”