28 November 2012

Is art really art if it's temporary?

I've been hanging around brick walls lately. Laneways and doorways. I am always on the lookout as I walk through the streets of Melbourne. I'm on the lookout for temporary art. Street art. I think it's wonderful. I love that someone has taken the time to give their art freely to the community. To place the trust in us that we will notice it and appreciate their paintings and pastings as if it was art in a gallery. And knowing and accepting that it is (most likely) temporary art - one day to be worn down by the weather or torn down or painted over by people. The application of their art seems a great sacrifice. They just give it to the world and lose all control of its preservation. Of course, the artist most likely has an original design they can reproduce, but the place their art is situated is so very temporary.

I've been taking photos of street art when I see it. To keep it somewhere I guess. To treasure it. To remember the way it made me smile as I wandered through the concrete jungle, or drove around to find a park, just to get a better look. It is so easy with a mobile phone camera too. In late 2010 I came across Urban Cake Lady in a dingy lane way near my old work building. I just loved the vibrancy and fairytale-like pictures, and from then, I vowed to keep looking for more beauties like this.

My blogging mate Tash also takes photos of street art - she has quite the collection from overseas. She finds street art great inspiration for blog posts, and writes that bloggers must always be alert. Nicole loves street art too, and she has kindly referenced some of the street artists in my previous posts where I've featured street art photos.

I saw these on Friday night, on my way to Bob Evans. The art caught my eye as I drove down Lygon Street North Carlton, and on this ocassion I found a park so I could take a photo. I loved the way the shadows formed as the sun was setting. The photo was taken around 7.50pm.

This red haired beauty is on a housefront, she's sleeping on a map, dreaming of the places she'll go.

Next to the main picture is a young girl, pig-tailed and wearing a skivvy. She's also on a map, I wonder what she'll be when she grows up?
These pieces were created by Klara, visit her site to see more of her work.

As I walked up the stairs of the Bella Union, this was on the wall. Not so much street art, but it had a similar sentiment. The words made me a little sad, thinking about that boy. Will I ever find another you? Do I really want another you? I'm not sure who it's by, if anyone knows, please let me know.

Lastly I saw this yarn bombing at the Baptist church on Sydney Road in Brunswick a couple of weeks ago. The trees and posts at the church have been yarn bombed as a tribute to Jill Meagher for what would have been her 30th birthday.

I love the cheeriness it brings to the tree. The flowers are as bright and as beautiful as Jill's smile. It's a lovely gesture by Yarn Corner.

So is it art if it's temporary? I think it is. I get as much pleasure looking at street art as I do in the galleries. I like how modern, and dare I say, guerilla-like it is. I also think it's open to such a wide audience. Street art makes us slow down and look. It gives us a bit of incidental culture. It brightens up concrete. It's a fleeting gift.

Do you look out for street art? Where are some good places to look?







  1. I love the unexpectedness of great street art. You kind of expect the ugly graffiti (although I wish it wasn't an expectation) so to see something beautiful where and when you least expect it is a delight that is only enhanced by its temporary nature.

  2. Thanks again for the mention- there is always some hidden piece out there waiting to be discovered. The key is to keep your eyes open and don't forget to look up.

  3. Art is totally art even if it's temporary, if it impacts you to think about it later, or search for it. Then yes, job done. A friend was telling me of a man doing beautiful paintings in water on the street on Thursday (the hot day from evilness) and said how beautiful they were as they evaporated all down the street. Prime example of temporary art, that people are still talking about long after it's vanished


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