Culture Melbourne

Hidden gems

There’s vandalism, and then there’s street art.

Some have trouble distinguishing them, but for me, it’s not hard to see that these hidden gems in Finlay Lane (off Little Lonsdale Street, near Queen Street) are clearly the latter.

Street art, Finlay Lane, Melbourne

Street art, Finlay Lane, Melbourne

Street art, Finlay Lane, Melbourne

Street art, Finlay Lane, Melbourne

Street art, Finlay Lane, Melbourne

Well worth a look, if you’re passing (and you can find it!)

By Daniel Bowen

Transport blogger / campaigner and spokesperson for the Public Transport Users Association / professional geek.
Bunurong land, Melbourne, Australia.
Opinions on this blog are all mine.

6 replies on “Hidden gems”

Hah. I did a group presentation for uni recently on Vandalism. My section was the “street art” vs. vandalism debate. Some interesting stuff came up!

The summary was that essentially every persons definition of what is street art and what is graffiti varied, dependent on many variables: location; context; style; artist (and whether they were famous or not); materials used; etc; etc… in short a complex issue!

Fascinating topic though and I agree, a wonderful little laneway. Although I’m a little sad some of the older stuff is gone, there were some real gems amongst that too.

I think if you want to draw a distinction, it’s pretty straight forward and you only need to look at the example of the last photo in your post.

See the ugly tag ruining the work on the woman’s cheek? That’s the kind of garbage we need to get rid of and make the deadshits that do it clean it up (at their own expense).

One of the things that I love about street art is that it is transitory. I know its human nature to want to keep hold of something beautiful but in reality this is just not possible. A great way to preserve street art is the way that Daniel has done, and take a photo. I agree it’s horrible when a tagger comes in and destroys street art but this is also part of the renewal and hopefully (in a vibrant artistic city which I hope I can always live in) another artist will be inspired to put something over the top. I wish there was a better way for these artists to be out and proud so that art collectors could get in contact and have pieces created for posterity.

@Adrian in the instance of these pieces the artists are out and about. They have shows, sell many private pieces and get commissioned to work a lot. The group call themselves Everfresh.

I’m fairly certain the lion-ish thing in the 3rd photo is by Phibs and the last photo’s paste ups are by Rone.

The simplest way to distinguish between vandalism and street art is does the person have legal permission to paint / paste on the building.

If they don’t then they are a criminal vandal.


How do street artists get recognised in the first place then? I’m fairly certain the above laneway would have been commissioned, or at the least permission given, yet every one of the artists started out by doing work illegally.

Its very hard to get commissioned/permission if nobody knows who you are!

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