April Graffiti Notes

Parts of my questions about the preservation of graffiti for future generations have been answered at the Permissible Art Forum. Some of it is already being preserved. However, at the forum, Ghostpatrol pointed out that the high cost of the multiple coats of anti-graffiti sealant applied after the Union Lane street art project to preserve the work cost more than the production. In Ghostpatrol’s opinion it would be better not to preserve the old pieces but to create more new works; it is a question of who is funding it and for what reasons.

There are a few pieces of graffiti north of Coburg on the Upfield line, like the rude Batman opposite Batman station (that was an obvious joke just waiting to happen), but mostly it is tags and throw ups. This is partially because the area beside the railway tracks is mostly unsuitable for large pieces, as the area is suburban on one side and, on the other, the factories are surrounded by mesh fence and are not abutting the railway line like they are in Brunswick.

As I was riding my bicycle I passed a guy removing tags from a building. I could smell the chemicals of the graffiti remover solvent from across the road. The man working was not wearing any protective mask or gloves. The smell of the chemicals made me consider if the removal of graffiti is more harmful than its application.

Moreland Leader, Monday 31st March, Brigid O’Connell reporting on homeless mentions that a “graffiti guardian angel gave Kurt a sense of security and peace” as he slept rough in an abandoned factory in Brunswick. The community that street artists feel a responsibility to is the community who are on the street, the homeless not the property owners, the young lumpen proletariat not the working families. Rather it is the community that is generally regarded as being outside the community.

The Guardian Weekly (4/4/08 p.42) reports that London’s Swiss embassy has an estimated (US)$2 million art collection in their underground carpark. They acquired the collection in 2001 when they invited graffiti artists to paint the carpark. One of the artists was Banksy The Swiss are laughing all the way to the bank.


About Mark Holsworth

Writer and artist Mark Holsworth is the author of two books, The Picasso Ransom and Sculptures of Melbourne. View all posts by Mark Holsworth

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