In the January / February issue of On The Road Magazine this year I had an article on finding street art when you’re on holidays. It’s a great way to get to know a town or city by walking around and finding little back alleys which can sometimes be a treasure trove of artworks.
I’m finding that more and more places in Australia, and a lot of them rural, are really taking to having festivals and events where local artists can show their creativity. They are also doing a great service in covering some unsightly buildings, ablution blocks etc… with colour and humour thrown in.
On our last major getaway which took us to Western Australia and the Northern Territory, we had plenty of opportunities to seek out some more outstanding, fun, quirky and just plain strange street art. Once you start looking for it, it’s amazing how it just seems to jump out at you wherever you are. Here are some of the stand outs for me from the west.
Bremer Bay: This is a small coastal town in southern WA with a population of less than 600. It’s a popular spot for holiday makers as a summer getaway destination and the locals have made a feature of the toilet block near the boat ramp by educating visitors on the marine animals found in their patch of paradise.
Albany: A larger southern port city of around 34,000 people the street art here was prolific due to a public urban art competition. Dozens of international and Australian artists transformed the laneways in 2016 to bright and vibrant places to visit off the main shopping street of York Street. Each of the murals have a plaque with the artists name and description of the work on it.
Perth & Fremantle: Like all Australian cities, Perth has a lot of art and sculptures in the city centre but also some bright walls to bring a bit of sunshine into the workers day. This car park in a suburb of Perth advertises the Marmion Marine Park and the creatures you’ll find in the south west oceans.
As for this critter, I found him lurking behind the cars at the Fremantle markets.
Cervantes: This is a small fishing village a couple of hundred kilometres north of Perth and has a big lobster industry in town. These 3D works of art were painted on and spilling out of a building in the main shopping area of town.
Geraldton: An amazing amount of street art all with the theme of being thought provoking. The artworks all created by local artists, have positive messages and bring up issues on spaces that would otherwise be neglected and overlooked. You can have fun with the street art here and a lot of people stop and smile and become a butterfly or an angel for a day. I love that the local council actually has a public art strategy.
Broome: These colourful and wild frill necked lizards were painted by local artist Sobrane Simcock and adorn the walls of the local army squadron buildings in Broome. The squadron’s emblem includes the frill necked lizard which is also an iconic reptile of this area of WA. This talented artist has her own gallery in Broome which you must visit if ever there, but has also completed street art in Australia and overseas. Her pictures of Australian animals and birds are sublime.
Derby: Another ablution block made to look oh so much better thanks to paintings by local children. This block is in the Kimberly Entrance Caravan Park.
Wyndham: The fence surrounding the community owned and run Wyndham outdoor picture gardens is adorned with artworks painted by local high school students in 2012. This has a bright and happy mural running the length of the corrugated fence and was part of their art program. It just looks great covered in Aussie animals, birds and the local landscape.
Final word goes to the humour in the street art in Geraldton.