Emerging from the city’s famous laneways, Melbourne street art takes the next step in its creative evolution with the launch of a new art covered precinct – bringing a series of giant mural works to a long-forgotten pocket of the CBD.
Melbourne’s reputation as an international street art capital is well documented. For decades now, the city’s laneways and neglected buildings have hosted an ever-evolving canvas of work; work that has been thought-provoking, awe-inspiring and undeniably photogenic.
Now, an ambitious new project has brought together six of Australia’s most celebrated street artists to transform part of an electrical sub-station in Melbourne CBD’s once-grimy south end; bringing this emerging precinct to life through art.
Each artist collaborating on the project — Smug, Dvate, Adnate, Sofles, Fintan Magee and Rone — was given "full creative freedom" to transform the site via a series of colourful, vibrant and eclectic images designed to acknowledge and reflect the world we live in today.
Curated by Shaun Hossack, founder of Melbourne street art collective Juddy Roller, the Upper West Side Street Art Precinct is a collaboration with CitiPower and Far East Consortium.
Hossack – whose recent credits include the curation of the hugely successful Silo Art Trail in Victoria’s Wimmera Mallee as well as a string of major street art projects around Australia – sees the project as a chance to respond to the broader public’s growing appreciation for large-scale civic art.
"The response that we’ve had to the Silo Art Trail has been enormous," he says. "This just proves that the public is really open to experiencing great contemporary art – especially when it has a story to tell. Melbourne is known as a mecca for street art but our inner-city still lacks any significant large-scale mural works."
He offers Belleville – the famed street art district of in Paris’ 13th arrondissement – as an example of how large-scale civic art is being used to engage a broader audience and revitalise overlooked corners of the city. "It’s such a rare opportunity," says Hossack, "the scale of this project is unprecedented in Melbourne’s CBD. It’s the next step in the evolution of Melbourne street art."