It’s hard to find an art form that conquers the hearts and divides the opinions of millions around the globe as much as street art has done since its dramatic spread over the last few decades. An essentially democratic process with art made for everyone, sometimes in spite of everyone, for the pure motivation of just existing, however long or short the local council or competing artists allow, street art can change a beautiful area into something resembling a ghetto, or make a poor area so aspirationally ‘cool’ all the gentrifiers move in and squeeze out the original residents.
Some cities have shunned unauthorized painting and sculpting, but our current urban hub Melbourne has decided to embrace the creative potential this most trendy form of expression holds, which in return has allowed incredible talent to be fostered and developed to compete on a world stage. Our neighbourhood of Collingwood is a hotspot for various world-renowned artists, so when you come and visit Australia, keep an eye out for some of our favorites:
It was the aboriginal kid grimacing down at us, 4 meters high, face painted with white stripes, holding a spear up high above his small shoulder, that made us think “this is where we want to be”. Adnate has for years been painting usually invisible indigenous faces back into urban Melbourne, sometimes 6 stories high. His style of creating stunningly beautiful, incredibly lifelike portraits makes you wonder how he only got into it about 6 years ago.
See more of his work @adnate
2) Fintan Magee
Originally from Brisbane, we first spotted Fintan’s work in Perth and Townsville (of all places!). His paintings often tell surreal and intriguing stories – a refugee boy holding a noodle bowl containing a burning ‘Queenslander’ house or a cowboy riding through an ocean surrounded by pink trees. His style is far from cartoonish spray painting and more like something you’d see hanging in the National Gallery – but on a huuuge scale.
See more of his work @fintan_magee
If you’re into urb-exing, you may find yourself scrambling through an abandoned steel works to turn a corner and find an incredibly intricate portrait of a beautiful woman painted amongst the urban decay. Chances are, you’ll have found one of Rone’s many murals of ‘something that is very fragile, and on the edge of falling apart, but still holds its beauty’. Rone recently painted the above portrait in the soon to be demolished 1920s Art Nouveau Lyric Theatre as part of his “Empty” solo exhibition which firmly established him as a global exhibiting muralist.
See more of his work @r_o_n_e
4) Lucas Grogan
We first saw Lucas Grogan’s telltale blue and white geometric mural at Old Man’s Canggu, whilst we mused about the beauty of the planet and enjoyed our self-invented post-surf Bali Speedball. We were delighted when, just around the corner from our newly found home, we stumbled across another mural made up of countless geometric lines, shades of light and dark blue, interspersed with repetitive but hand painted shapes that told of that incredible patience only artists seems to be able to muster for creative detail. What we love about his work is that it makes walls look like fine china, has super-positive vibes but subversive undertones and cheeky elements you only see when you pay close attention. Oh, and if you were wondering what a Bali Speedball is, it’s a fresh coconut and a shot of espresso. Don’t mix.
See more of his work @xlucasgrogan
5) Ghost Patrol
Turns out we kinda know Ghost Patrol. Well, not really, we’re just good friends with one of his buddies. And he shone a lazer beam into our apartment from his apartment while we were chatting to said friend to find out how close we live to each other. Ghost Patrol’s beautiful gentle characters make streets into fairytales, which is why he mostly paints on commissioned walls. If you’re lucky though, you might spot one of his chalk drawings in the most unexpected of places.
See more of his work @ghostpatrol
Can’t get enough of all this awesomeness? Sure you can’t. Don’t worry, grab yourself another biscuit, there’s more in part 2.