Urban Artists Make Their Mark
The thinking behind Yarra City Council’s street art projects is, if you can’t beat them, encourage them.
With so many enticing concrete walls along the railway line that dissects the suburb, not to mention bare factory and warehouse walls along the many intriguing laneways, tagging and graffiti were becoming a problem.
So, rather than trying to say “no” all the time, the council decided to say “yes”, and support public art projects that embrace the street style.
Just around the corner from the very stylish 381 Cremorne boutique accommodation, you’ll find some very stylish street art.
Running the length of the railway tunnel wall there’s birds, flowers, sports and people, all the usual tagging designs plus lots of local references both to indigenous and neighbourhood history.
There’s also a big portrait of someone’s dad, a tribute that is both startling and poignant.
The street art in this precinct, some of which is fading and weathered, other parts newly shining, is like a pictorial map of this most vibrant of Melbourne suburbs, which is one of the oldest and most fascinating in the urban landscape.
The artists for the Stewart Street project were Kim and Dale Nicol, and VicRail and the site managers were so impressed with how they transformed the station entrance they then commissioned further artwork along the wall fronting the carpark.
That success has led to more. In Post Office Lane, off Victoria Street, Yarra City did an upgrade in 2014, which included a big artwork along a wall (including rolladoor entrances) by Reko Rennie.
Reko is associated with the indigenous Kamilaroi people, and his “Welcome” artwork includes that word in the language of Melbourne’s traditional owners: “Womenjika”.
The good stuff seems to have worked. You’ll still see the odd scribble and tag, but with the bar raised by artists working in the graffiti style, well, you have to be good to go public.