Guidebook There’s street art everywhere: eclectic, anarchic and over-the-top

Arty Melbourne

There’s street art everywhere: eclectic, anarchic and over-the-top

Street art covers almost every nook and cranny of our creative, colourful city, says Time Out. But there are more highly concentrated clusters than others. “These are the street art hotspots that any self-respecting 'grammer should be snapping. Here’s where to find the city’s street mural hotspots, in all their spray-painted laneway glory.”

“The sheer quantity of street art and graffiti on Melbourne’s thoroughfares was something I’d never seen,” says Lucas Peterson in The New York Times. “On my long walks traversing the streets and alleys of Melbourne, it felt as if I was perusing gritty, informal art galleries. Some works were abstract, some skillfully done tributes to favorite cartoon characters, bands or movies. Better still, this seemingly endless stockpile of urban art was free and open to the public.”

Is Melbourne’s practice of graffiti legal — “or at least unofficially sanctioned,” Peterson asked a gallery employee? “While many street artists operate illicitly,” explains Peterson, “some Melbourne property owners have embraced street art and commissioned works. With larger, more detailed murals, there’s a good chance they were done with permission.” (He also notes that “not everyone believes ‘artist’ is the proper terminology, however; some prefer terms like ‘pest’ and cite the high cost of cleaning vandalized buildings.)

So where’s the best street art in town? Here’s what Time Out has to say: start with Hosier Lane (“a creative mark has been left on almost anything with a surface and sometimes it's the smaller, easily-overlooked pieces that really astound”), then head to Centre Place between Collins Street and Flinders Lane (“feast your eyes on some of Melbourne's most high-profile and elaborate stencil work and graffiti art”), move along to AC-DC Lane (“features all kinds of musicians – both real and imagined”), have a squizz at the Keith Haring mural on Johnston Street in Collingwood (“the late but legendary New York artist Keith Haring created this mural for Melbourne back in 1984, and it's been one of the city's favourite pieces of public art ever since”) and don’t overlook Caledonian Lane, Croft Alley, Duckboard Place and Rankins Lane.

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