Perth Alley Art – I

7 03 2012

I regularly walk through the city centre and am especially drawn to the alleys and lanes that feature urban art. I’m not talking about the senseless tagging, obscene scribbles and outright vandalism on bins and bus shelters, I’m talking about art. Urban art. I’m not advocating vandalism, I’m celebrating a medium and artist that is often misunderstood.

The laneways in Perth are narrow and criss cross the streets and malls but unlike Melbourne, our laneways have not developed into a thriving micro-cafe culture. Perth’s alleys are still grubby delivery shafts featuring warped and rusted fire exits, rubbish bins, roller doors, and air conditioning vents. They’re off limits at night except to the souls who wander the streets but by day, they reveal an interesting contrast between beauty and dereliction.

I love it. I love the serendipity of finding a new piece. I love the scale and the detail. I love the subtext of the piece – it’s clever work. It thrills me more than lining up to see a travelling collection of Picasso’s at the Art Gallery. I love the transient nature of it, only surviving until city officials find it and cover it over with a messy paint job that only ever looks worse.

I love the fact it is hidden and has been created unseen. Designs have been patiently developed in note books and perfected in time, replicated over and over until every line is known by heart, saving time on the spot. Artists wait for the moment, the right time, the right place, the right wall, the right space before pouring out their soul onto the wall for some people to find. Here are some examples from the inner city alleys. Next week I hope to track down some work from Stormie Mills, it’s genius.

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17 responses

7 03 2012
Chris Alice Donner

That is some fantastic art. If I found this work on the side of my building I’d spray paint the city officials who want it removed. Just kidding. I know why they paint over graffiti, but this is truly art and should be maintained. We could use more public art that makes us think and smile.

8 03 2012

Yes, it’s great work isn’t it. There is more recognition and respect now for urban artists as people admire their work which is on such a grand scale. Some have been commissioned (through the grapevine) to work on an old building in Fremantle which has been derelict for decades. It is the old Wool Stores building which is heritage listed and sits right near the Port. Various artists were invited as part of the Wool Stories Project to paint a panel that would block up an old window or door while the building remains vacant. Great idea and great talent on display.

7 03 2012

Fascinating pieces – I wonder how long it takes to create these scenes? Do they work by night? Much urban graffiti is just scrawled defacement. These works you’ve shown tell a story in color & form. By the way – I met a couple from Perth yesterday at the ski area. I took their photo for them.

8 03 2012

Yes, they are great pieces and there is definitely a distinction between vandalism and art. These can take quite a while although they are done in stages too. I’ve seen some artists at work in other abandoned spaces and they are as organised and focussed as the best project manager you’ve ever seen. Glad you met some Perth-ites Barb – I bet they were totally in love with Colorado!! It does look glorious. Thanks for stopping by. 🙂

8 03 2012
Dezra Despain

I love urban graffiti or street art. I’ve been photographing my own neighborhood lately with the notion of writing a series of blogs about them. It’s such a complex artistic form of work. I don’t think I will find anything like what you have posted, though, because my city is really good at sanctifying street art for artists, most of whom are not street artists. 😦 So the real street artists go elsewhere. Even so, I find some interesting and beautiful tags. I love your images. Thanks for posting them.

8 03 2012

Thanks Dez – If you’re a collector like me you might like this post on my other blog Original Beauty which is from inside an abandoned power station.

8 03 2012

Your shots capture the essence of the graffiti!

8 03 2012
Gilly Gee

such tremendous talent!

8 03 2012

Yes it really is Gilly. 🙂
(shhhh! secretly, I would love to do this!!!)

8 03 2012
red dirt girl

Beautiful photos of beautiful art. I love the urban guerrilla aspect of it !!


8 03 2012
J Cosmo Newbery

I have mixed feelings. Not sure about the unsolicited use of walls, certainly don’t like the mindless tagging but sometimes there are some amazing works done. A nephew posts London street art on Facebook and some of it is stunning.

8 03 2012

Yes, it does bring mixed feelings. I think this work, due to it’s placement brings some beauty to some unsightly places. I don’t support vandalism at all, but this is (in most cases) a renovation. 🙂

9 03 2012

i like the art you have shared and think i recognize one of the pieces – the man and girl with button eyes dressed in red and black – from an artist’s blog i have visited. i believe he is from Perth and does this kind of work. thank you for visiting my blog recently. sadly i do not have time to keep it fresh or visit others like i used to do. where did you come by me?

10 03 2012
Northern Narratives

Definitely a lot of talent here. Great post.

11 03 2012

Louise, I love, love, love urban art. I would have a fit seeing this. I took a few shots of snippets of urban art in NY last weekend, but haven’t posted them yet. Such talent. I can’t imagine working on such large spaces. These are fantastic!

11 03 2012

Part II coming soon! Glad you liked it 🙂

20 03 2012

Ahh yes, street art doesnt have to be so anti to appear so creative. Great captures.

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