Coburg is on the edge of the donut ring of Melbourne’s inner city suburbs and the outer suburbs. For street art it is the high tide mark, the final piece on a midnight mission, the liminal zone where beautiful street art meets ugly graffiti. Coburg is different from it’s more inner neighbour, Brunswick where the aerosol is thick and fast. Coburg is where the inner city pieces run out and only bombing, tagging continues. It is not in the mainstream of Melbourne’s street art or graffiti scene but the occasional piece still pops up. Braddock, Psalm, Lench and others have all decorated the walls of Coburg.
There are street artists who do the occasional odd piece, leaving messages along the bike trail, Shark’s paste-ups of birds and Forever’s great Cooo-burg pigeon paste-up, the odd stencil here and there.
I have been looking at Coburg’s graffiti for decades. I remember a long gone, old Psalm blockbuster piece on the fence by Coburg railway station from back in the 1990s when there was very little graffiti on the Upfield line. I also remember an early stencil and paste-ups by Peter Bourke who went on to a great fake newspaper headline paste-up campaign, “The Pedestrian Times”.
The aerosol pieces along the Upfield train line run and bike path out a little way into Coburg past Moreland Station, partially due to a lack of available walls. Build a brick wall by the railway tracks in Coburg and it will be painted, as Lench did with this new wall. And beyond Coburg Railway Station the there is a lot of crap graffiti. There are few pieces due to local strange attractors, like the walls opposite Batman Station. There aren’t that many laneways in Coburg, the city council had a policy of selling them off. There are the occasional sticker and paste-up runs up Sydney Road that reach Coburg’s shopping centre. And furious political debate and simple graffiti cover the giant back walls of the supermarkets.
There is also a lot of serious buffing in Coburg creating walls that look like abstract paintings. This buffing discourages anyone to go beyond tags, throw-ups and slogans; although the occasional one can take even that to a new level. There are some really creative throw-ups in Coburg.
January 17th, 2012 at 12:54 PM
Thanks for this! There is some amzing stuff – stencils I think – under the Kodak bridge on the grassy Edgars Creek walkway in Newlands, Coburg North.
January 17th, 2012 at 6:09 PM
hi Mark! the pasteup in your first pic is by Suki Art…Looking forward to more Coburg time this year…
January 17th, 2012 at 6:58 PM
Thanks Vetti! I was a bit unsure when I put it up because I can remember someone else making the same mistake in identification recently. I’ve no idea about the identity of the others – maybe someone else will comment.
January 18th, 2012 at 2:49 PM
I particularly love the “yarn bombing”. It has an old-fashioned, very cosy feel to it. Always brings a smile whenever I pass a pole covered in knitting.
January 19th, 2012 at 12:53 PM
Not a Miso paste-up, Mark but a Suki.
January 22nd, 2012 at 12:32 AM
The image illustrating buffing is a real stand-out piece for me. I really like your allusion to these unintentioned works having their own aesthetic value, unbeknownst to their creators and, quite probably, contrary to their wishes. I’d love to see some of this collaborative to-and-froing between taggers and buffers you mention.
January 22nd, 2012 at 12:49 AM
Reblogged this on whiteCubist and commented:
Mark Holsworth, finding art where there is none, makes the following astute observation: “buffing discourages anyone to go beyond tags, throw-ups and slogans; although the occasional one can take even that to a new level.”
May 28th, 2013 at 9:02 PM
[…] this year I wrote about Coburg being a transition point between street art and graffiti. As more legal walls become available in […]