Fitzroy is a mecca for street artists in Melbourne’s inner northern suburbs. Unfortunately for tourists, these artworks are not concentrated in one place but are scattered throughout the laneway’s criss-crossing between Brunswick and Smith Streets. Those willing spend some time wandering through these quiet residential streets will be rewarded by a rich and diverse collection of street art created by crews of local artists.
Some of the themes found on the walls are rooted in Australian folklore such as the infamous Australian bushranger Ned Kelly or stencils of the archetypal 1960’s brick cottages that litter the area.
Some walls feature murals of indigenous Australians, a reflection of the local indigenous community in the area. On the other hand, some of it is just plain weird (see the photo of the bald guy with the cat on his shoulder).
“Some of the walls are free-for-alls where local crews will put stuff up. If it’s any good, other artists will leave it there out of respect” said Lizzie who worked in one of the local paint stores. “Sometimes local pubs or stores will provide paint to the art crews to paint over the tags and other rubbish on the walls.”
Stacey, another local we met while touring Fitzroy’s laneways, said “the walk is brilliant, thanks. It helped that it was a beautiful sunny morning – it gave me a skip in my step!” Stacey was drawn to the street art of Melbourne, because she was fascinated by the creativity and freedom of the artists. She thinks it is a fantastic way for the public to enjoy the artwork of many Melbourne artists.
“It is great to see the artistic freedom which the city of Melbourne allows them to have.”
Though the works of the artists are impressive and obvious to see as you meander through the alleyways and streets of Fitzroy; very rarely will you actually see the masters at work.
For all Fitzroy locals they never have to deal with bland walls of boring buildings. They are decorated with colorful displays of artistic expression. The street art of Fitzroy is a very normal and expected part of the suburb. Though many people find the artwork breath-taking and amazing, it is just a way of life.