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Street Art Notes – Nov 09

“Cherry pickers, with satin brushes big as a door, inch through Wall Street leaving a vast souvenir postcard of the Grand Canyon. Water-trucks slosh out paint. Outlaw painters, armed with paint pistols, paint everything and everyone in reach. Survival artists, paint cans strapped to their backs, grenades at their belts, paint anybody and anything within range. Skywriters dogfight and collide and explode.”

William S. Burroughs (“Apocalypse” from an illustrated catalogue in collaboration with Keith Haring, 1989) Amongst his many crimes and peccadillos, William Burroughs was caught doing graffiti on a NYC subway. He had written: “Ah Pook was here”, Ah Pook is the Mayan god of destruction.

Unknown artist - St. Kilda Rd.

Van Rudd - St. Kilda Rd.

I have seen some street art using trees, is very uncommon, this one on St. Kilda road had charcoal marks applied to it. Trees are a common feature of the urban environment; they are rarely touched by street artists but I have seen some good site-specific art on trees by street artists. And after much talk about the possibilities of street art with moss I finally saw some near East Richmond station however it had not been grown but glued to the wall.

unknown artist

unknown artist - details of moss antlers

After lots of comic book characters the aerosol street artists are now doing lots of large realist faces, mostly images from cinema history. Some of the best of these faces can be seen along Hoddle St. in Collingwood.

facesI went back to look at Croft Alley in Chinatown about two months after the Don’t Ban the Can event. There was one graffiti writer at work in the alley when I visited on a warm Saturday afternoon on my way to yum cha. It was hard to see all the walls because of all the garbage bins, but they are, along with other services why these alleyways have been constructed. It looked good and fresh, in contrast to the smell of garbage. There are a great variety of styles from the old school, wild-style, characters and beyond. I say “beyond” because there were also work there that really pushed the techniques and ideas of what aerosol art could be. I could see more of it and there was more to see then when I was there for the painting.

Croft Alley - Civil detail

Croft Alley - unknown (detail)
Croft Alley - Phibs“Style in ornament is analogous to hand in writing, and this is it literal signification.”

Ralph Nicholson Wornum (The Principles of Ornamentation, 1858)

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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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