Lately there’s been a lot of talk about graffiti in Sydney. Now that I’m 30 and listen to AM radio, I’ve heard a a lot of talkback on the topic.

I’ve gotten so close to ringing the radio (oh my god, I really am turning into my mother) because the close-minded opinion that graffiti artists just do it to shirt people off was, well, shirting me off.

The word graffiti is being used far too broadly—graffiti really is moreso about illegal artworks and “tagging” (I hate tagging). Street art refers to those beautifully thought-out and executed pieces where most-often the artists have gained permission of the owners to decorate their vertical real estate.

Me? I’m a fan of street art. If I had that kind of talent with a spray can, I’d be going for it, too. And I really do hate tagging – it’s thoughtless and it’s a spray-can equivalent of a dog taking a whizz on every blade of grass in the neighbourhood.

Our garage wall had been covered in graffiti – meaningless tags and spray drips that made it look more like a training ground for junior street artists. Then late last year we saw a group of guys working on a wall near us that ended up looking like this:

We got to talking to the group of guys and offered them our tacky garage wall as a canvas. Turns out that most street artists get the permission of the property owners (or in our case, renter) and go as far as getting contact details of the property owners so that they have a fallback position if the cops start asking questions. Cause they know that doing it without permission is, you know, illegal.

The guys we met over the course of a few weeks while they worked on this wall as well as hours, we found them all to be intelligent, articulate and most of them had day jobs and this was just their creative outlet after hours.

I like that.

And I have since had greater respect for the street art I see around Enmore, Newtown, St Peter’s and other places around Sydney.Yes, I know there are some bad apples around, but aren’t there always in social groupings?

I’m making it my mission to educate everyone around me that there’s a difference between graffiti and street art and that there is a hell of a lot of street art-talent out there.

And for the record, ever since our garage wall has been done up, there has been NO MORE TAGGING on our roller door. Kinda goes to show that there is a level of respect for each other’s talent in the street art world.

I wrote about the blue monkey here.

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7 thoughts on “In defence of street artists

  1. hehe you’ll find those pics go well with your background here!

    Posted on 13 April 2009 at 10:48 am
  2. ha, you’re right! :o))

    Posted on 13 April 2009 at 9:03 pm
  3. Have you seen the cute (but probably commissioned) “graffitti” on cnr Coulson and Eve Sts, Alexandria/Newtown?

    PS We are freaky weird middle finger twins.

    Posted on 13 April 2009 at 11:24 pm
  4. No! But I’ve just found it on streetview – it’s damn good! Might have to detour on my way to work…

    PS you have crooked middle fingers too?! snap!

    Posted on 15 April 2009 at 10:07 pm
  5. Thankyou so much for this post. I adore street art but hate tagging too. Street Art is a beautiful way to express urban culture and I hate all those current affair stories on the evils of graffiti. Gets my heckles right up.

    Posted on 27 April 2009 at 7:00 pm