Art & Design
Posted by Brett Hamm
19. Jul, 2011
Over the last few years (whether it likes it or not) street art has undergone something of a Lester Bangs-ian “long journey to the middle” – moving steadily from the shadowy fringes of radical alternative culture towards mainstream acceptance. The pros and cons of this shift are complex, varied and probably best left to those actively involved in the scene for anything like a definitive reckoning. However, one thing is certain: greater exposure has resulted in a considerable upswing in popular interest for the nebulously defined art form. And along with this swelling popular interest has come a burgeoning opportunity to profit from something which has so long existed outside of commercial clutches.
All this poses something of a dilemma – not only for the artists themselves – but for those civilian souls genuinely interested in street art’s radical background finding it hard to find an authentic perspective.
Enter Melbourne Street Art Tours – the first tours in Australia designed and guided by street artists themselves.
Established in 2009 as an initiative of Melbourne’s artist-run Blender Studios (home at one time or another to such local luminaries as Vexta, Prizm, Psalm, DLUX, Lister, Phibs and 70K), the tours, befitting of the medium they promote, are a mixture of considered local knowledge and rapid-fire spontaneity.
Taking in works by the likes of Melbourne-based mainstays Drew Funk, Ha-Ha, E.L.K., Phoenix, Phibs, Baby Guerrilla, Aeon as well as international stars such as Banksy, Blek le Rat, Swoon and Above, the tour’s real draw isn’t visits to iconic locations such as Hosier and Union lanes, but the selection of treasures lurking out of sight in anonymous alleyways and the personal anecdotes that accompany them.
Wrapping up at the Blender Studio itself, Melbourne Street Art Tours offer their participants the real opportunity to meet some of the artists they’ve just seen and to have a relaxed chat over a cold beer or a glass of wine. Personal, approachable and a little rough around the edges, Melbourne Street Art Tours delivers a faithful, warts-and-all experience of Melbourne’s fabled street art scene.
For more information on Melbourne Street Art Tours visit: www.melbournestreettours.com
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