The name of my file for these street art photos is “bomb illustration” – I don’t know what else to call it. They are throw-ups, as in a quick bit of graffiti using one or two colours and it is an illustration. They are about style and imagination. There are artists who do a lot of these like MaxCat and Sims who can fill a whole wall with it. There are artists who do it as a kind of visual tagging, drawing the same thing over and over. And there are unknown artists who draw or paint on walls when the opportunity and the environment presents to them. I enjoy them.
Tag Archives: throw ups
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.
This year has seen the rise of a new style of throw ups, freehand, using the single line of an aerosol paint-can (or marker pen or chalk) to draw. It is quick and effective style that uses are no touch-ups. The line loops and waves to create a bold drawing. Robot, Maxcat and Yok are amongst the exponents of this style. For these artists the single graphic line is everything.
Heading in the opposite direction to freehand graffiti is the growing understanding and use of pixels in street art. Taking common computer knowledge about using pixels to make images and applying it unusual ways with unusual materials for pixels. For example, in the No Comply exhibition Rone’s “Only happy when it rains” used painted bamboo skewers inserted vertically in to two skateboard decks to create an image, part of a new romantic face.
On the commercial side of street art things are prospering. Phibs has painted the front window of Villain in his bold tribal-inspired designs. There are more works of Phibs on canvas inside along with screen-prints by many other notable Melbourne street artists. Villain has produced a series Xmas cards in conjunction with these artists.
On the non-commercial side of the street art street; street art sculpture is getting stranger. There are 16 pair of shoes (including a pair of thongs tied together with string) hanging from the wires in Balcombe Place in Melbourne. There is a long tradition of hanging old shoes from telephone wires but such a concentration in such a small location is something more. If it isn’t art, exactly what kind of cultural activity is hanging shoes over wires? A sport?