Smart ARTS Festival Street Art Tour

March 31st 2011

Can I get a hell yeah for pristine concrete walls, wooooo!!! Anybody? No? Didn’t think so. Inner city bare bricks are about as exciting as another Rebecca Black cover.

It seems Australian capital cities are wising up to the wonders of street art, and the winds of change are whistling down city streets. Many feelings were hurt when Melbourne council workers “cleaned up” an inner city Banksy sketch last year, and a lively debate continues in Sydney about the integrity (and legality) of street art. Is The Law starting to understand the distinction between art and vandalism? At the very least they’re understanding that pretty walls are important to the yoof. In smart ARTS, their annual youth arts and cultural festival, the City of Sydney is running a street art tour celebrating the contribution street artists have made (literally) to Sydney’s cultural landscape.

The tour will be led kind-of-a-big-deal-street-art-guy Chris Tamm, who had this to say:

FBi: So Chris, what draws you to street art.

Tamm: Constant change and innovation – nobody can know it all.

FBi: What is the state of the (street) art in Sydney? How is is it treated by council and tha po-lice?

Tamm: It’s a pretty mainstream part of popular culture currently – car ads, magazine covers – just part of everyday life. And more people are making a living from it than ever before – more and more, the styles and techniques have been employed by users in a commercial capacity in galleries and many are ‘skipping’ working in public and going straight to the gallery. Media is also more positive, or at least balanced, when dealing with this art than say, ten years ago. Street art and graffiti are not really the same thing any more – street artists can have careers as muralists, teachers and exhibiting artists without the law being a relevant issue. I also think the fact that Council has been supporting festivals like smart ARTS festival for six years now demonstrates that the community and regulators in Sydney are becoming more open minded and confident about engaging with a wide variety of art forms, including street art.

FBi: Where is the best place for a spot of street-art sight seeing?

Tamm: I think that Newtown, St Peters and Enmore have the best variety of styles and techniques.

FBi: And what does the future hold for street art?

Tamm: It’s my guess that everything will continue to become more sophisticated. I’d like to see the end of the “white cube” fad from the twentieth century, and more art in the forgotten public spaces that Sydney has so many of. By white cube‘, I mean that twentieth century post war modernism was concerned with minimalism and believed a blank white wall is a plus – whereas graffiti and steampunk aesthetics are a clearreaction to this.

In the immediate future, wrap your eyes around some dope murals at the street art tour this Sunday.

What: smart ARTS Festival Street Art Tour

When: Sunday 3 April, 1-4pm

Where: Meet at Pine Street Creative Arts Centre, 64 Pine Street Chippendale

Cost: Free, but bookings are essential




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