Street art and Style: A Love Letter to Melbourne
It hasn’t been that long, but I have developed strong feelings for you. I always admired you from afar, but since getting to know you properly, I realise that you are a wonderfully complex city with an unparalleled style. You are much more than a place for DFO shopping and football games. In fact, there are so many aspects of your personality to love.
The CBD is home to anything you could ever image, themed bars, corporate offices and serviced apartments for Melbourne visitors. But among the high-end fare on Collins street, the grand retail opulence of Bourke street mall and the fragrant pull of Chinatown, there are the spaces where your artistic talent shines.
Delving deeper past the main galleries, you find your hidden depths; the alleyways full of street art. A vital artery of your cultural system, these lanes have become a tourist scene, the City of Melbourne even creating a map which highlights the iconic lanes. Catch people on their smoke break as you venture down the backstreets of the city: Hosier lane with its layers upon layers of fragmented art, new overlapping old; revel in rock on ACDC lane; see the framed collection on Presgrave place; admire the striking artwork on the walls of Flinders Court; and find the hidden alcove of buried painted treasures on Russell Place. In your heart, Melbourne, there’s so much to explore.
Ranking high on the hipster scale, Fitzroy is where Melbourne style comes into its own. In Fitzroy, there is an edge that is hard to define. The boutiques and vintage stores along Brunswick street provide shoppers with everything they need to try to emulate the Melbourne style elite, and bars and restaurants to show off in. But diverting away from the main streets, you have the rabbit warren of cobbled lanes jammed with colours, fonts and images.
The overwhelming display is intense, every surface is covered, even wheelie bins and poles. Things jump out at you: a small book sitting atop of a pillar and a drink can stuck on a wall. Look down and up and all around. You could stand for hours and still new things will pop up. And if you wait long enough, new things may be created around you. All surfaces seem to be up for grabs, so you better be careful.
Brunswick has its own flair that is getting greater by the minute and is attracting more and more people to add to its suburban culture. It’s a place that is making a name for itself with cafes, kebab shops and bars. It’s evolving every day. The best place to find street art is riding on the train or one of the many trams that go through Brunswick, a symbol, if you will, of a suburb in motion, fast becoming one of the trendier areas.
Sitting on the Upfield line watch the graffiti whip past and pick out your favourite artworks. Or venture by foot through the area and see if you can spot the wall murals dotted around, particularly up Lygon street. Melbourne, you are not afraid to grow and adapt, and it’s incredible what can be created in the process.
The North has the reputation for being cool, but Richmond has its diverse delights if you feel like venturing east. Following the train tracks that slice through the middle, are murals painted by diverse and talented artists on Stewart street. If you’re lucky you might spot one of them in action. With the high-end eating establishments up Swan Street, modern furniture stores on Church street, the up-scale warehouse conversions housing businesses, and music at the Corner hotel, in Richmond, there are so many forms of creation happening at once.
Melbourne, you are an exciting and dynamic individual. And with all the style and artistry you have to offer, it’s not surprising that I have a crush on you.