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Legal Street Art in Brunswick

Aeroskills, Brunswick 

 

Aeroskills, Brunswick

 

There are some great fresh aerosol pieces in Brunswick along the Upfield train line. Both of these works employ a dynamic ribbon design that ties these very long works together. At Brunswick station there is very large legit works, replacing a piece from last year that had been viciously vandalized. Maybe that is why there are some very angry figures in the piece near Brunswick station.

Street art near Brunswick Station

Villain presents AWOL DRS ALPHA near Brunswick Station

Each year I try to do a survey of the graffiti and street art along the Upfield train line. It is of course easier to see it all on bicycle as the bike path runs along the train line and the trains on the Upfield line only run every 20 minutes at their best. Prompted by an article in The Moreland Leader (9/3/09) “Writing’s on the wall” by Brigid O’Connell this year I decided to focus my attention on the legal street art.

In “Writing’s on the wall” by Brigid O’Connell provides a balanced report on the Moreland Council’s policy of promoting businesses to use legal street art as a way of stopping tagging. The opinions of the extreme anti-graffiti faction were reported, along with the experiences of local traders. A photo of a smiling convenience store owner Hamid Jalal next to his beautifully decorated shop wall says it all.

Brigid O’Connell refers to two Brunswick businesses that have employed legal aerosol art to reduce tagging: Lygon Convenience Store, on the corner of Brunswick Rd. and Lygon St. and Ling’s Fish and Chips on Glenlyon Rd. (Ling’s Fish and Chips is by Kinyobidesigns) Both are in areas with medium level graffiti, that is, you can see a few tags and bombs on disused surfaces and in alleyways. Hamid Jalal told me that some of his neighbours didn’t approve of his new street décor but that he was still happy with it.

Lygon Convenience Store

Lygon Convenience Store

Ling’s Fish and Chips

Ling’s Fish and Chips

Many businesses and private houses in Moreland commission street artists to paint walls with street facing; I looked at dozens on my bicycle ride. Many of these works have lasted for years, even decades: Jamit’s coffee cup, the first two colour stencils I ever saw, is still on the wall of a house along the Upfield train line a decade later. The piece with the anarchist robot on the side of a terrace house near Moreland station has been up for many years. The owners of the terrace house have had the advertising billboard removed preferring street art to advertising.

House, Moreland Station

House, Moreland Station

It is difficult to determine if legal aerosol art reduces unwanted graffiti in the area. Only in areas of very intense graffiti was there any damage to legal pieces and in areas of moderate graffiti there was no damage at all to legal pieces. It is obvious that in the Moreland area legal street art reduces unwanted graffiti on the area covered by the legit art. It is impossible to asses the fallacious argument of Scott Hilditch from Graffiti Hurts Australia that legal aerosol art attracts unwanted graffiti any more than because that is a post hoc ergo hoc (y came after x therefore y was caused by x).

Safeways and Connex and are the two corporations most intolerant of graffiti and street art in the Moreland area. Neither corporation has done anything to improve the aesthetic quality of their area, sometimes at great expense, like Safeway’s chain-link fence topped with barbed wire.

Safeways, Brunswick

Safeways, Brunswick

If you want to support beautiful street art then shop at businesses that give local artists opportunities.

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About Mark Holsworth

Writer, independent researcher and artist, Mark Holsworth is the author of the book Sculptures of Melbourne. View all posts by Mark Holsworth

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