Street sculpture, or 3D graffiti, is the most difficult of all the street art mediums but when done well is also one of the most popular street art form. The Crate-man Collective of Melbourne is very popular with the general public who see the men made of plastic milk crates from train windows. The public does not associates street sculpture with vandalism and admire their creativity, especially the creative use of rubbish.
To create a sculpture that can withstand the outdoor environment is difficult enough but then add the usual problems for street artists. And what distinguishes street art sculpture from public sculpture is that street sculptures are unofficial.
I met the guy who does Junky Projects at the BBQ for the MSF and we have been exchanging a few emails since. I had seen his Junky Projects on the street, creations of junk with a “junky projects” stencil sprayed on them attached to poles. I asked him why he got into doing street sculpture? He replied by email:
“I guess I started because I was looking for a new medium to engage the public with my street art. Too many people just pick up a scalpel and a cheap can of paint and decided that they are a street artist. I have been a graffiti artist for over ten years and I have played around with all types, pieces, tags, stencils, paste-ups, and stickers. The thing is it’s all too tired for me. Sometimes I see things on the streets that inspire me or keep me interested, but mostly there is a lot of rehashing old ideas. The junkyprojects was something I knew nobody had ever done before. I get a huge rush from it, more than I ever got from bombing tags or other types of graff. Plus it engages all types of people; they all get something out of my work.”
Another of Melbourne’s street sculptors is ‘Mal Function‘ who does little gremlin faces that he attaches to walls and poles in the street. These gremlins in the system bring folk myths into the city and remind us of the malfunctions of the urban environment. ‘Will Coles’ is a sculptor from Sydney who has exhibited in galleries and Bondi’s but he also has some street sculpture in Hosier lane. Will Cole created concrete remote controls and televisions that he glues in the street. And including, street fabric art in this short survey, there is also the Melbourne Revolutionary Craft Circle (see: Radical Cross Stitch, “seriously seditious stitching”) who used cross stitching on the chain-link fence around vacant land in Footscray to create the slogan: “I wanna live here”.
Most street sculpture is still rather flat, low relief sculptures, objects glued to walls, like the ubiquitous ‘space invader’ mosaic creations. Or high-top runners hanging from an overhead wire, the street art equivalent of tagging. However, this is just the beginning street sculpture is a growing trend and there are going to be better works, like Junky Projects, coming to a street near you.
(Thanks you Junky Projects for your help with this article.)
July 28th, 2009 at 6:45 AM
Fantastic article! I was at the Adelaide Fringe Festival earlier this year and did the ‘Street Art Walk’ where the speaker scoffed at my questions about 3d and ‘site specific’ street art – nice to see that it is being done and that it is getting attention as I find the sculptural street art much more inclusive of the people and space it sits within (usually).
July 28th, 2009 at 3:45 PM
Very interesting! It’s not a lot of street I’ve seen before. The most interesting that it’s unofficial kind of expression.
February 10th, 2010 at 5:35 AM
I love the topic! I do a lot of this kind of street art myself.
March 17th, 2010 at 7:40 PM
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March 22nd, 2011 at 4:07 PM
Hey I’m wondering if you can fill me in on who are responsible for a couple of street sculptures I really love.
One is the cubist teddy bear? sitting in an alcove on Niagara Lane.
The other is a cast of a drink can stuck to the top of a pole Edward and Lygon St Brunswick just next to Gingerlee Caffe. I’m pretty sure I’ve seen one of these on Brunswick St as well.
March 22nd, 2011 at 6:09 PM
I’m pretty sure that the cast of the drink can is the work of Willl Cole. I don’t know who did the “cubist teddy bear” but I like your description of it.
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