The grungy-turned-hip neighborhood of Newtown in Sydney has some of the best graffiti and street art in town. Interestingly, a lot of the graffiti is not removed but protected under a provision of the city council laws, which aims to preserve “historically significant” pieces of street art.
I first heard about the graffiti around Newtown and Surry Hills after Green Day’s “21st Century Breakdown” album – some of the pieces were commissioned for the album.
There are a couple of established crews working with full kit and filter masks. I got a chance to talk to one of the guys in his mid-30’s (who didn’t want to be photographed – technically what they are doing is illegal) and he lamented about how young teenagers nowadays are tagging *over* the existing graffiti with their own crew tags.
I don’t know how I feel about that. What he alleged is true – I saw a couple of kids whitewashing space over existing beautiful murals and putting their own crew tags (which is basically a stylized name) over it.
On one hand, I feel it’s disrespectful but on the other hand, the kids needs a place to practice to hone their skills but spray painting over someone else’s hard work, even if it’s in the public domain, isn’t very kosher since there’s heaps of space for them to practice.
It was a damp and rainy day in Sydney and we went to a lot of the hotspots around the Surry Hills and Newtown area to check out the graffiti.
Check out the B&W stencil art in the middle of the wall!
This piece of graffiti spans across five different surfaces. I love how a door is painted over the real door.
It was fun and the guy I talked to let me check out his gear. It takes a lot of time and effort to do a really big mural and this one is my favorite:
This 1 ½ storey mural is an intricate piece of art depicting a female orang utan carrying a baby and the alpha male baring his teeth. It’s done primarily in orange and you can see the sheer detail from the skin and fur of the animals, as well as the tropical sunset background. This was taken in May Lane/Caroline Lane in Newtown.