Melbourne is one of the most prominent cities in street art culture around the world and certainly within Australia. Street installations, stencil art, sticker art, poster art, tagging, murals, graffiti, wheatposting, mosaics and woodblocks can all be seen in multiple locations throughout the cities suburbs. Following the emergence of the graffiti subculture in the early 1970's and the popularity of TAKI 183, early tags rapidly emerged in Melbourne. After the emergence of stencil art, Melbourne was one of the first cities outside of the UK to embrace this form of street art extensively throughout its suburbs.
The CBD, Fitzroy, Carlton, Brunswick, Northcote and St. Kilda host a variety of mediums, the further from the city you travel the more tags and graffiti become prevalent, particularly on rail lines. It is rare to see any street art or graffiti in the outer suburbs.
Hoiser Lane (in the CBD) is perhaps Melbourne's most famous laneway for street art, located opposite Federation Square, it runs between Flinders St and Flinders Lane and includes a square section of lanes leading off Hoiser. It is often the It is frequently used as the backdrops for mainstream commercial advertising, an example is Ford Australia's print advertising of their new model Falcon parked in a lane off Hoiser. It is also a popular destination for couples to have their wedding photos taken. At any time of the day there are various people photographing the work of street artists who have contributed their work to this lane.
Fitzroy, Brunswick and Northcote are well known centres for live music in Melbourne and host perhaps a greater variety of street art than other locations. The back of roadsigns amongst shops down Brunswick and Smith streets in Fitzroy are often covered with the work of sticker artists. Posters are abundant and most are for the promotion of actual events rather than strictly works of art.
Graphs and tags are still most prominent on the cities railway lines and extend far into the suburbs. Certain rail yards are popular destinations for artists looking to tag trains and many such yards have major security features such as razor wire, 24 hour security camera coverage and security gaurds to prevent access to stationary trains. Videos of groups gaining access to rail yards and performing their work are regularly uploaded to You Tube promoting the success of street artists working in small groups.
Various galleries in Melbourne showcase the work of street artists some of which include; City Lights Gallery, Until Never Gallery and Gallery 696.
The following are some known prominent Melbourne street artists:
Melbourne has become famous around the world for its street art culture. The Lonely Planet travel guide for Melbourne has listed street art as a major attraction in the city for quite some time. Artists from Germany, the UK, Canada & the US regularly make the trip to Melbourne to contribute their work to the city, including many famous international street artists such as Banksy, Fafi and Logan Hicks. In early 2008, the local council paid to have a perspex screen installed over a Banksy stencil of a girl with an old-style diver's helmet to protect it from damage, its believed the work dates back to 2003.
Melbourne's Street Art in MediaEdit
- Countless books and zines have been dedicated entirely to street art in Melbourne.
- a 1994 documentary film Sprayed Conflict about Melbourne graffiti artists featuring well-known Australian graffiti writer Duel.
- a 2005 documentary film RASH a feature documentary about Melbourne street art particularly focussing on the artist's lifestyles.
- a 2007 documentary film Jisoe on Melbourne street artist Jisoe.
- a 2007 ABC TV series Not Quite Art studying the unseen side of Newcastle, Glasgow and Melbourne's art scenes.
The first Australian stencil art festival was held in Melbourne in May 2006, a simmilar event was later held in Sydney in June 2006.