So I may be a little late on this but it's a post I've been working on for a while, but the streets of Melbourne are overwhelming with inspiration. So the post deserved time and justice, as the artwork it represents.
I initially chose Melbourne because it seemed like the perfect fit: young, artsy, quirky and vibrant. The coffee, the style, the galleries. Everyone raved about it from one corner of the world to the other. From what better place to explore my new home?
First day: I arrived and wandered the city, getting totally lost and exploring side streets and boutiques. The following day I booked onto the Melbourne Visitor Centre free tour, consisted of me and four 80 year olds. Lovely people, but slow. Not the ideal way to explore but I learnt a lot nonetheless.
One of the oldest, strangest men of the group made a request - that we tour the graffiti lined streets in which Melbourne’s arts are best exposed. Namely, Hosier Lane.
The Street art in Melbourne is itself a personality. Artists take their cans, stencils and ladders and move "graffiti" to another level, layering and blending like you would a fine portrait. Even more, it's embraced. The artists are welcome to create on the walls. One back alley was electric blue, from the gutters to the floor beneath my feet, decorated with stories, watching eyes and detail so specific it was unintelligible.
The city has built a reputation on it, they embrace it - The City of Melbourne website claim it has noticed that ‘many people appreciate ‘street art’ such as larger, more artistic pieces, or murals.’ It adds to the ‘vibrant urban culture’.
As an artist you can get a permit from the city council to use the lanes and alleyways of the city as a canvas. There are a few regulars. The tagging still happens. But if you walk down the street once a week you will struggle to find what was there in the first place. It’s new and fresh and unapologetic.
I like art. I always have. I can appreciate what it takes to create something, the patience and the inspiration. So when I saw that, between this November, Melbourne was completely having a facelift I was intrigued. They painted over everything in black. Seeing the final piece is fantastic, but seeing the process was mesmerising. The regular people, bags of spray cans, stencils, ladders and groupies. And then the lane was colourful again.
Melbourne is so much more than this, but to live somewhere that offers a newly inspiring weekend 52 times a year, a place that never feels bored - well that's just Melbs.