And now for something completely different. I was saddened to learn that the street artists BMD are disbanding:

The legendary street art collective BMD has split up.

Known for their distinctive wall markings, often including warped animals and cartoon objects, the two Taranaki artists behind BMD have announced they are parting ways.

As part of the separation process they have revealed their identities as Damin Radford-Scott and Andrew J. Steel.

The contemporary art duo have spent the past 10 years building their brand into an internationally recognised mark.

Throughout their partnership the men behind the murals chose to conceal their individual identities.

They once cited the reason for their anonymity was an effort to have their work judged for what it was and not for who the artists were.

But since announcing their split the pair have decided it was now time to unmask themselves.

Friends since the two attended Devon Intermediate School in New Plymouth Radford-Scott and Steel have spent a decade embellishing public spaces throughout the region, across New Zealand and overseas.

However, in more recent times the pair had started to move in different creative directions and they agreed the split had been on the cards for a little while.

Radford-Scott, who works independently under the artistic moniker of Milarky, said it was inevitable.

“We’ve changed as people, we used to gel really well together but it’s not quite like that anymore,” he said.

BMD are responsible for some weird and wonderful murals on walls up and down the country. I’ve seen their work on K Rd, Carlton Gore Rd, down in Taupo, New Plymouth, Wellington, and Christchurch, and even a couple odd paint-jobs next to obscure highways up north. Once you’d seen a few pieces of their art, it was instantly recognisable – vivid colours, animals with weird human expressions.

You can see their work here. Here’s a few of my favourite pieces.

BMD for anti-shark finning, Wellington, 2013. Photo: Norman Heke
BMD for anti-shark finning, Wellington, 2013. Photo: Norman Heke
Auckland, 2013. Photo: BMD
Auckland, 2013. Photo: BMD
Taupo details, 2011. Photo: Blake Dunlop
Taupo details, 2011. Photo: Blake Dunlop

I’m sad to see BMD end. Damin and Andrew have done a great job beautifying New Zealand’s cities. But I’m also looking forward to seeing what they come up with on their own.

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  1. While I mourn the loss of the K-Rd mural, I do love how they’ve done it – painted over the whole thing but replaced it with “BMD WAS HERE”, with the letters revealing the old mural underneath. Really simple and effective.

  2. It seems like this is only the start, as they both want to expand their creative practice.

    Their work stands in contrast to the mindless scrawls that predominate among taggers/graffitists. However, without a pool of such people it seems unlikely that you’d get work like this emerging either.

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