Wednesday, April 28, 2010

is this art?

The story of famous street artist Banksy's work being removed by Melbourne City Council has provoked a lot of conversation about graffiti, street art and tagging today.

Is this art? This stencil appeared in a Belgrave Laneway some years ago, long painted over, but was it vandalism or art?

Coincidentally I attended the Shire's Graffiti Management Working Group today to talk about graffiti issues across the shire where the Banksy issue came up in discussion. The Group mainly oversees the implementation of the Shire's Graffiti Management Plan which covers off on a range of prevention, early intervention and pro-active responses to graffiti issues. Our approach is a whole of community approach and we work with business, local communities, government and non government organisations.

Our goal is to minimise the incidence of graffiti, reduce the cost of graffiti and improve the sense of community safety.

The definition of graffiti in our community is unclear, is it street art, is it tagging, is it vandalism, or is it all of these things? Often the term graffiti is used in a way to describe vandalism and I consider that there are two very distinct and different categories of graffiti. It is abundantly clear to me that tagging is about vandalism, it is the sort of graffiti that makes communities feel unsafe and encourages anti social behaviour. Street Art however is different, the expansive murals, quirky stencils, love it or hate it, it's role on our streets is quite different and it does not have the same impact on our communities as tagging.

Street art continues to be controversial, but tagging is unsightly and should be tackled the minute it appears. Did you know that you can get a free graffiti removal kit at any of the Shire's community links? Just pop in and ask for one if you need one.

The clean up and continued maintenance of Blacksmiths Way in Belgrave to remove all the tagging was a great community effort, driven by the Traders resulted in less anti social behaviour and less incidence of crime in the laneway.

Melbourne is world renowned for its street art, people travel across the globe to look through our lanes and back streets at a myriad of street art. Banksy's work on Hosier Lane was a testament to this reputation. It is interesting to look at the responses provoked by its removal. Street art by its very nature is ephemeral, here today – gone tomorrow, I don't think the artists expect their work to stand the test of time.

Labels: , , , , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home

eXTReMe Tracker