Melbourne, Australia is internationally known for it’s street art, something I didn’t realize until I was researching the city prior to my RTW trip. I grew up with the destructive graffiti of tagging that littered the streets of Philadelphia in the 70’s and 80’s and that still exists today so I wasn’t sure what to expect on my tour of Melbourne Street Art. To say I was surprised is an understatement.
I would meet Daniel Lynch, AKA Junky Projects, a local artist using junk to create his art (the ultimate recycler). Junky was the Melbourne Street Art guide and he would navigate the laneways, arcades and alleys to introduce our small group of six to the pulse of the city through it’s street art. Our tour would last three hours and end at Blender Studios where we would have a drink (beer or wine) and meet resident artists working in their studios. The cost was $69 AUS.
Junky explained the evolution of graffiti (Philadelphia played a huge part in this) to the street art that we see today around the world. With the documentary “Exit through the Gift Shop” a huge spotlight (an Academy Award nomination will do that) was shined upon street artists to those of us who had no clue about this art movement. Cities began to invite street artists to create on their walls in an effort to bring tourists but the irony is that local graffiti laws still exist basically saying tagging bad, street art good. An example is Melbourne’s graffiti law with it’s rules, regulations and permits needed.
Our first stop was the popular, Hosier Lane, across from Federation Square. I wasn’t sure sure where to look first as it was awash in the color and the art was everywhere. As luck would have it, two artists we working on their walls so we stopped to talk to them about their work in progress.
We continued to explore all the nooks and crannies of Hosier Lane before continuing onward like detectives now that we were on high alert for art – painted, paste ups, stickers, stencil art and yarn bombing to name a few types of street art we would learn about on the tour. I was entralled with the art – it was alive and was challenging me to rethink graffiti, art and street art as there is a delicate balance between what folks view as destructive and what they see as creative.
The thing about street art is that it constantly changes (for the most part) and the art that I would see today would change on my visit two weeks later. It is a fleeting glimpse into the creativity of the artists, the mood of the time and the need to constantly change. These are a few of the many hundreds of photos I took in November 2013 during my two visits to Melbourne (the first visit in the rain, the second in the sun). If you want to see how the street art in Paris compares, read “Paris: More than Graffiti, the Street Art Walking Tour“. You will definitely see and feel a difference in the street art scene.
The Street Art of Melbourne – the Paste Ups
While the Melbourne art can be found on your own without a guide, I would recommend that you go with a guide to learn more about the art, the techniques and the artist. It’s quite easy to see art and say “yes or no” to whether you like it but to learn how it was conceived, what the influences were and how it fits into the street art scene adds layers to your understanding in my opinion.
The Street Art of Melbourne (November 2013)
Hopefully, you will start to see Street Art in a new light and seek it out when you travel. I will be posting more about all of the street art I’ve seen on my travels – it’s all very interesting and considering I have trouble drawing stick figures, I’m in awe of the creativity and the ability to give the world your work only for it to be gone days or weeks later.