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Sunday, May 18, 2014

Then and Now: the evolving story of Melbourne's street art

At the turn of the millennium, Melbourne saw an organic, spontaneous blossoming of street art. It manifested in stencils sprayed onto bluestone laneways, in massive paste-up murals adorning railway bridges, and ad-hoc street art happenings in dirty rubble-strewn city spaces. 
Melbourne street artists became both subcultural heroes and public enemies – depending on who you asked. Despite the howls of protests from some, Melbourne's street art came to be one of the city's key cultural calling cards, duly named by Lonely Planet as among its top tourist attractions.
Then and Now, a new show opening on Friday in a derelict Collingwood warehouse space, showcases the work of three of Melbourne's early street art pioneers – HahaDlux and Sync – but also reveals where these artists have arrived at in 2014.
Now and then
Street artists (l-r) Dlux, Haha and Sync. 
Hammerhead shark
Dlux's Hammerhead shark.
Dlux's recent works attempt to capture the "scrawls" of tagging in both surburban and rural settings, incorporating them into often naturalistic landscape work. In one standout piece, a hammerhead shark swims into the deep blue with the darkness of the ocean illustrated by graffiti scrawls the artist collected up in Arnhem Land, where the shark is a totem animal. 
Peppered with welcome nostalgia, Then and Now charts the evolution of the Melbourne street art scene into something able to transcend a purely commercial trajectory, demonstrating how it can connect on the broader canvasses of Australian cultural identity and our natural environment. 
“This is very much a Melbourne thing, because Melbourne is where street art got its momentum in Australia,” says Dlux. “We hope this show will appeal to those who were around when we were first out there making this art, as well as bringing in a new generation. Certainly we wouldn't do this show in a commercial gallery. We wanted to maintain the connection to street art's political and punk roots.”
Read more HERE.

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