Melbourne – A Painted City

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As a city, Melbourne is spot on for me. I stayed near Fitzroy which is a very cute neighbourhood full of quirky shops, great cafés and a really beautiful outdoor pool (always a bonus for me!). The food everywhere in Melbourne is excellent and so, I’m sure, is the coffee, although I’m afraid good coffee is completely wasted on me.

I loved taking the tram to the pool for my morning swim and then strolling back, having a delicious veggie breakfast somewhere in the sunshine on the way. It felt like an easy city to live in, one where I’d never get bored.

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There are some wonderful art galleries, both large and small, but the city itself is an ever-changing exhibition of some of the most exquisite street art I’ve ever seen. It seems both magical yet tragic that most of the pieces in these photographs will no longer be visible, but this is all part of the evolution of the art. Artists spend hours creating masterpieces, only for them to be painted over just a few days later.

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I wonder how deeply the walls are covered and what it would be like to peel off the many layers of paint to reveal pieces from years ago. It would tell an interesting and possibly controversial story, given that much of the street art is a response to current affairs and popular culture – an alternate history from the people who dare to speak out.

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I was amazed by the diverse range of styles on display. This is street art with many flavours, influences and motives. It cannot be so broadly categorised as “street art” when each artist has their own agenda. Some is purely decoration, some makes a political statement, some is tongue in cheek and some is just downright dark.

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I took my Sharpie down to Hosier Lane, the most famous and colourful street in the city, to leave my own mark. When I visited again three days later, part of it had already been covered up with something new. Everything is temporary, every visitor sees a different view of the same space. One guy photographed me as I was doodling, so at least someone has a record of it besides me!

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