I have a confession to make. I have spent a lot of time on the streets lately, lanes and back alleys in particular, and unexpectedly I have fallen victim to a new addiction and it’s slowly turning into an artistic obsession.
The visual art created and expressed in public locations, more commonly known as street art, is exploding in popularity worldwide. Street art has evolved from Graffiti and was traditionally an unauthorised graphic expression that would appear overnight, giving off a thrilling and clandestine vibe in the underbelly of the cities in which they are executed. Nowadays the random acts of illegal artistic brilliance still occur in the shadows of the night, but some of the artists themselves are stepping out of the shadows and into the spotlight of bonafide murals.
You may think its vandalism, and Yes, – If a building owner’s side wall gets ‘bombed’ with spray cans without his knowledge or permission, then yes, it is … but what I am talking about is far from an adolescent tag on a neighbourhood fence – this is beauty, this is talent, this is something to be treasured. And as artists begin to be recognised (in some cases world famous) they are no longer having trouble getting permission to use the street as their canvas. In fact city councils are embracing the movement.
On my recent trip to Melbourne I had one thing in particular I wanted to tick off my tourist list, which was to wander down Hosier Lane. Its legendary status now earns itself a mention on just about every ‘must do’ list that Melbourne generates so I was intrigued to see what all the fuss was about.
Now, I’m not exaggerating when I say that the reality took my breath away. The colours, the vibrancy, the humour and the pure unadulterated talent has helped me to see street art in a different light.
Ever since I’ve been googling places to get my next fix, pinning, posting and following the underground legends of this magnificent genre. If you are yet to discover the magic, here are a few places to check out right here in Australia.
As mentioned above Hosier Lane is the undisputed patriarch of laneway art in Melbourne. Just a short stroll from Melbourne’s Iconic city centre, the streams of people entering the laneway lets even the unaware know that something special is happening here. The lane is literally saturated in colour as the murals jostle each other for space, and attention. Stay long enough to really take it in. The large colourful pieces demand attention, but the small understated pieces in between also deserve your attention.
Other places of interest in Melbourne
- Rutledge Lane, off Hosier lane
- Caledonian Lane, off Little Bourke Street
- Union Lane, off Bourke Street Mall
- Rear of 280 Queen Street in Finlay Avenue
- 21 Degraves Street
- Cnr Flinders Lane and Cocker Alley
- 122 Palmerston Street, Carlton
- Centre Place, between Collins Street and Flinders Lane
Where to stay : Wyndham Hotel Melbourne
TRYP Fortitude Valley Hotel is Brisbane’s only street art hotel,The hotel features contemporary design and striking street art by world-acclaimed artists Rone, Magee, Numskull, and Beastman. These artistic installations have helped TRYP to become known as one of the hippest hangouts the city has to offer. Brisbane is embracing street art, legitimising the culture and this week (6-18 February 2016) is endorsing the Brisbane Street Art Festival and approved 25 different walls to becoming living galleries for 50 artists. If you can’t get there to see the artists in action this week, rest assured the legacy will remain for a visit in the future.
Where to stay: Tryp Hotel Brisbane ( you can’t get any closer!)
Perth: Another big Australian City embracing urban art is Perth. Last year Public2015 saw over 50 artist’s transforming 42 walls, and this year April 1-10 2016 will see the 3rd annual event. Perth’s scene may even be challenging Melbourne for the title of Australia’s street art capital, with a staggering 500 plus locations featuring on the ultimate guide map Streets of Perth . Last months ‘Re.Discover Bunbury’ festival showcased amazing street art that is a must see if you are travelling the road from Perth to the Margaret River region.
Where to stay: The Outram, Perth, Wyndham Resort & Spa, Dunsborough.