Sunday, 20 March 2011


“Graffiti is one of the few tools you have if you have almost nothing. And even if you don’t come up with a picture to cure world poverty you can make someone smile while they’re having a piss.” - Banksy

The weather was just perfect today, warm and sunny with a slight breeze. We had a leisurely breakfast, ambled about in the back garden and then decided to go for a drive down to Brunswick Street in Fitzroy. This is a famous Melbourne street which is trendy and modern, old-fashioned and retro, sophisticated and daggy all rolled into one. There, one can find restaurants and cafés, galleries and exhibition spaces, bookshops and clothes stores, gift shops and flower shops, pubs and wine bars, warehouses and boutiques. The people are as mixed-up and crazy as the shops. Innocent young teens, goths and missionaries, arty types and yobbos, rednecks and multicultural intellectuals, flibbertigibbets and strong silent hulks, druggies and squeaky clean preppies, straight and gay, all are represented here. Add to that the “sightseers” and “tourists” who are always ambling up and down to check out the place.

For many years I had a part-time job in a College off Brunswick St, so I know this neighbourhood and its denizens quite well. It is still a fashionable place to have a stroll in and as we hadn’t been there for ages, we decided to go there and have lunch in one of the many cafés. One of the features of this neighbourhood is its many pieces of street art. There are mosaics on the pavements, decorated ceramic benches, statues, cast ironwork, fancy shop signs but also lots of graffiti and posters on many walls. This street art together with the galleries and exhibitions lend a rather bohemian, arty cast to the street.

Many people are annoyed by the graffiti, but I feel there is a place for it if it is confined to certain areas. It can be harnessed to decorate and make a social comment, it can amuse and surprise, it can sometimes achieve interesting and amazing visual effects. However, there is also the mindless, destructive graffiti of the “piss-on-the wall”, “mark-my-territory” variety that is boring, ugly and defacing. Also of course, graffiti that is inappropriately placed is rather hideous and obtrusive, as well as offensive.

For Art Sunday today, here is a large piece of Brunswick St “graffiti art”, well in keeping with the unconventional and avant-garde nature of this non-conformist part of Melbourne. It is brash and colourful, more than a little tongue-in-cheek and very well executed. Not the sort of thing most people would want to have on their wall, but for where it is just right… I know some people that object violently to any graffiti, wherever it is and whatever it is. In many parts of Melbourne, graffiti is part of the streetscape and some progressive councils actually collaborate with graffiti artists in order to use graffiti in a decorative and streetscape-enhancing manner. What do you think?


  1. Well I'm one of those people that doesnt like graffiti in any shape or form....
    If you want to paint something do it on canvas!!!!
    Most graffiti I see around the place is terrible and ruins the buildings its on!!!

  2. Great post I love it, reminds me of a company called Graffiti Kings run by graffiti artist Darren Cullen called Ser from London in the United Kingdom, they are really good professional graffiti artists for hire/commission who have worked with artists like Banksy. Their graffiti wallpaper effect really strikes me as very original, I know many people who would want some hand painted graffiti wallpaper in their kids bedroom or frontroom, go take a look or if they don’t float your boat take a look at the UKs best graffiti artist agency

  3. good stuff
    lets bring art to the people
    and whats wrong with marking our territory

  4. I dislike most graffiti, but in context, it can be a powerful medium. I was exploring the webpage on Brunswick St, which was great fun and I can see how graffiti would fit into this neighborhood, just as your picture shows, Nicholas.