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Enrico Cornuda’s two-night stay at Globe House in High St became an indefinite number of weeks after the nation moved into Alert Level 4.
As the news came that his South Island road trip would have to be cut short, he quickly called hostel owner Andy Legg, whom he had told he would do some artwork for if he returned to Dunedin, Mr Cornuda said.
They made a deal that he would paint a mural on the front of the building in exchange for a free room.
He began the piece, inspired by local wildlife, at the beginning of lockdown and had been painting ever since.
A mural of birds and fish now adorns the front of Globe House.
And he still had plenty of blank walls to keep him from lockdown boredom, he said.
He had also started a piece on the side of the hostel, which would be a part of HOME, a stay-at-home environmental mural festival run by the Pangeaseed Foundation, Sea Walls, Wanganui Walls and Alternative Arts Initiative.
"If I was not doing this I would be painting at the desk or on my computer, so I would rather it be the walls."
His love for art started at a young age, surrounded by a creative family, and he had worked professionally under his artist name PolpoKornuda all around the world, including Australia and throughout Southeast Asia.
Exchanging art for accommodation was also not new for him, as he started an art travel project in 2015 where he did just that.
His friend and assistant Ornela Meta had travelled with him, helping with his art and social media pages.
Mr Cornuda said he admired Dunedin’s street art, and many artists responsible for pieces had inspired him.
"The location is great and I feel very lucky."
His family, including his parents and sister, remained at home in Italy, where they were lucky to be healthy and safe, despite being "very bored".