Molotow Belton spray paint, designed for graffiti and street art
King goes through an estimated 400 to 500 cans of spray paint per year.
A stack of colourful paint trays
A ninja with a knife
King calls herself “a ninja with a knife", using sharp scalpels to cut designs into construction card.
A data projector is a useful tool
It's used to scale up imagery to create large format stencils.
Working in awkward spaces
It's a requirement of the job. King's background as a professional squash player helps her remain focused.
Applying layers to her paintings
Most of King's paintings involve a 'fill layer' and a 'line layer'. First the shading and background colour is done, then a top layer and detailed 'line stencil' layer is applied.
King uses a medical scalpel for cutting stencils
A Swann-Morton scalpel with a number three handle and size 10a blades. It's taken trial and error to find the perfect instrument, and she likes to pass that information to people who take her art workshops. “It can take years to work this kind of stuff out," says King.
It takes much longer to cut stencils than to complete a mural
Preparation is key – For the Hamilton City Library wall, King spent three weeks, on-and-off, cutting these stencils, and four days painting.
King began her business in 2005, painting art on hoardings and construction sites with blank walls
The feedback was resoundingly positive. “People often find it harrowing to walk into a gallery; it can seem snobbish and intimidating. But art in the street is accessible for everyone," says King.
“Most of my cuts are curved and natural, organic lines"
When cutting stencils King uses eight large self-healing cut mats under the paper, pushed together. She uses metal rulers for measuring, but not for drawing lines. Some stencils become art work in their own right – created from archival paper to frame and hang on the wall.
King goes through approximately 1200 sheets of construction card per year
A single painting may use up to 20 different stencils, each one hand cut using a scalpel and construction card.
Spray paint cans caps are removed during transportation
King removes the caps from spray paint cans in transit to ensure they don't release paint. She learned this the hard way, after exposed caps were jostled during transit to Wellington and entire cans of paint emptied inside boxes, creating a huge mess.
Tools of the trade
King with two of her “tools of the trade" – a roller and spray paint can.
King wears a mask at all times when painting
For both indoors and outdoors, to protect against the toxic paint fumes. When working in hot climates, wearing a mask can “feel like a sauna," says King. King owns about 20 masks, some of which are used by staff or participants of her art workshops.
Two-storey mural behind Hamilton City Library
King hard at work on a two-storey mural in a laneway behind Hamilton City Library. To meet health and safety regulations King has completed an elevated working platform course, required in New Zealand for anyone working at a height of more than five metres. This means she can safely operate scissor lifts and boom lifts – although she says heights do not bother her when she is focussed on a job.