Musuem of Wellington City

Tuffery is painting the mural directly on to the wall and floor of the Museum of Wellington City and Sea in its Te Upoko o te Ika a Maui gallery space.

He has also incorporated his love of maps into the large-scale artwork. "I started to look at a whole lot of older maps of the North Island and Wellington, and I combined the maps as the fish head and rest of the body of the fish."

He is being assisted by art students from Massey University, with about three volunteers helping out each day this week.

They are using projectors to transfer his design on to the surfaces, and Tuffery says the students have been brilliant to work with. "It's been great having their input ... they're directing me with some of it. I found it quite funny at first, but I took in their point of view. They're looking with different eyes."

As a result, the piece has been developing and transforming as they complete it, he says.

"It's really cool. Every artist likes to work like that.

"You can plan as much as you can but once you get into the space everything changes. The light's different and the space you thought was symmetrical and it's not."

Once completed, the floor will be given about four coats of clear varnish to protect it – and then visitors will be able to walk over the artwork. The piece will be on display for a year, he says.

Tuffery grew up in Wellington, before heading to Auckland for art school in the early 1990s. He returned to live in Wellington in 2006 and says he is happy to contribute to the region's history.

"It's nice to be adding to the perception of Wellington's history and to the Maori legend as well."

Tuffery says this is his busiest month yet, with an exhibition at City Gallery and another planned for Solander Gallery at the end of the month.

from the Dominion Post article