In the last few years I have noticed that street artists have been working more often outside the usual places that we associate with this urban art form. In Melbourne, they certainly still paint and paste and stencil in the CBD, in laneways such as Hosier Lane and AC/DC Lane, and in inner suburbs like Fitzroy. But they also paint on walls further away from the centre of town. This article highlights some of the best walls that Melbourne has to offer outside the city centre, created by a wide range of artists, both local and international. All of the locations can be found on the map at www.streetartcities.com or download the free app.
Painted in late 2016, Faces of Fitzroy, aka Fry’s Wall, is a showcase of the best that Melbourne has to offer. Seven hugely talented artists contributed to this 50 metre-long wall, with each portrait reflecting the distinctive style of the artist. Left to right: Cam Scale, Adnate, Dvate, Rone, Jason Parker, Heesco and Sofles. This wall can be found in Fitzroy.
Aboriginal Child in Richmond
Melbourne-based Adnate has spent a good deal of time in remote Aboriginal communities. Through his work he hopes to raise awareness of indigenous issues. This portrait can be seen from a suburban train as it passes through Richmond.
There is a Platypus in Belgrave
Dvate has strong photo-realist skills when it comes to painting native animals. This is nowhere more evident than in this platypus painted in outer suburban Belgrave, in the foothills of the Dandenong Ranges. It swims in a stream filled with rubbish – further along the wall there is an oil drum and a partially submerged shopping trolley. The local council funded the wall to encourage storm water drain awareness in an area where the platypus still lives but is vulnerable to the effects of pollution.
See the Dancer of Windsor
This portrait of profoundly deaf contemporary dancer Ana Seymour was painted by Guido van Helten on a seven storey building at Melbourne Polytechnic in Windsor in January 2017. She is lost in the dance. Van Helten, who bases himself in Brisbane but spends much of his time travelling and painting, creates site specific murals that reflect the human stories of the area. This mural reflects the polytechnic’s links to the deaf community via its Auslan diploma course and the presence of deafConnectED.
Haunted by Beauty in Brunswick
Internationally renowned artist Rone started leaving his mark on Melbourne’s streets and laneways in 2004. He is known for his haunting images of women’s faces – his female muse is strong and yet fragile. Rone’s mastery of tone is visible in this golden collaboration with fellow artist and calligrapher Mayonnaize in Brunswick
Kayne as Shakespeare in Ringwood
Local artist 23rd Key creates works on paper as well as on walls, the latter with the use of enormous stencils. ‘ShakeYe’ is a portrait of Kanye West channelling Shakespeare – it is typical of the detail in her multi-layered stencilled images. This wall can be found in an alley in a suburban shopping centre in Ringwood.
Masked Woman in Brighton
London-based Irish artist Fin DAC painted ‘Shinoya’, one of his distinctive masked women, in Brighton when he visited in early 2016. She is one of his series of ‘Hidden Beauties’, an enigmatic character glancing at us over her shoulder.
The Pirate Cat of Fitzroy
Australian-born Smug is now based in Glasgow although he spends much of his time travelling and painting around the world. This Fitzroy wall is a rather surreal self-portrait, in which he is flicking a marble that, on closer inspection, is the missing eye of the ‘pirate’ cat on the right. The fluoro pink highlights give his expression that extra edge.
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Capturing the Essence of Childhood in Dandenong
Colombian-born Julian Clavijo has been living and working in Melbourne since 2008. His endearing portraits of children are becoming well-known on the walls of his adopted city. Here he has captured the innocence of childhood in the multicultural community of Dandenong.
Robot in Prahran
British artist Phlegm is based in Sheffield, where he often paints the walls of abandoned buildings with his detailed black and white fantasy characters. This robot-like figure, in inner suburban Prahran, is shining a lamplight on the village inside his head. The four-storey wall was painted during a week of challenging weather, typical of Melbourne!. If you download the Chapel Street Precinct’s free app you can see an Augmented Reality version (even on your laptop)
Mythical Heroine in Fitzroy
Lauren YS, aka @squid.licker and #loloys is a Singaporean artist whose walls are wonderful confections of fantasy, but also often have a narrative undertone. Her heroines are often influenced by dreams and the strong women of world mythology. This beauty in Fitzroy, with her flowing locks and quirky skull necklace, is book-ended by a tiger and a bat
Attitude Mashup in Windsor
Heesco, originally from Mongolia and now living and working in Melbourne, is well-known for his skill in rendering photo-realist portraits. This girl with attitude is a cultural mashup – she wears Mongolian clothing and jewelry and displays an example of universal sign language. She can be found in a Windsor laneway behind a Japanese restaurant.
Thank you to guest writer Lou Chamberlin, find more of her great street art finds on Instagram. Also check out her book here. Read more about Lou in the bio below!
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Did your favorite street art destination make it on our best street art around the world list?