posted by Guest blogger - Elizabeth Holbrook | 1 Comments
Strolling down monochromatic streets lined with shops and restaurants in Melbourne’s city centre, it only takes cutting through an alleyway to experience an explosion of unexpected colour. That’s the beauty of street art in Melbourne: the abundance of colour tucked away behind tidy streets just waiting to be explored. Political, controversial, bright, funny, wacky: there are no limits.
Australian inhabitants would agree. “Adding colour and attitude, street art gives Melbourne’s character an intriguing voice,” says Virginia Blackney, a local artist. Scattered about different neighbourhoods, coherently or not, stumbling upon that intriguing voice is inevitable.
Influenced by the graffiti movement in New York, the modern hip-hop graffiti subculture emerged in Australia in the early 1980s. But according to the National Gallery of Australia, which featured the street art exhibit “Space Invaders” in Canberra, “Australian street art is a relatively recent phenomenon.”
Today the streets of Melbourne feature different forms of creativity such as stencils, posters, stickers, and paste ups from different artists. British street artist Banksy actually had a few pieces up in the city, but unfortunately they’ve been destroyed due to vandalism and a city cleaning mishap.
Bansky or no Banksy, the streets are still worth checking out. For the independent explorers wishing to adventure on their own, a detailed map highlighting the different street art areas in the city centre is available at Melbourne’s Visitor Information Centre located in Federation Square (aka 'Fed' Square). Additionally, the information centre also holds a greeter service featuring a two to four hour guide through different areas of the city.
Although it is typically a pre-determined route, if a group shows interest in street art, the walk can be modified. The greeter service starts at 9.30am and leaves from Federation Square daily. It’s advisable to book in advance and both the street art maps and greeter services are free.
For those who’d like to splurge on more detail and information, there are various companies that offer guided street art tours in Melbourne. At AUS$69, these are quite expensive though. Still, if you’ve got the cash to splash, you’ll find more information in the visitor information centre.
Regardless of what you choose, you’re bound to happen upon an interesting gem (like a mural of a unicorn smoking a cigarette) while searching for street art in Melbourne. So keep your eyes peeled and happy hunting.
More information can be found at: http://www.thatsmelbourne.com.au/greeter
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