Melbourne's 86 tram route as a giant open air gallery of street art


Melbourne, Australia is internationally known for its street art and its trams. Melbourne Street Art 86 imagines Melbourne's 86 tram route as though it were a giant open air gallery of street art with its own regular tram service. The pages in the dark blue side bar below have photos of street art by the suburbs the tram passes through. Locations are noted by tram stop, street location and also on maps of the area that can be downloaded or printed. Other Melbourne suburbs rich in street art are also featured.

Take me to the site guide and quick gallery of street art CLICK HERE.
Tell me more about the 86 tram & sights along the way CLICK HERE.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Desktop street art

This is a bit of an unusual post for this site, and is actually a cross post from my other site Kevin Anslow: Facts and Fictions, but I thought it would be interesting to add a bit of variety to the blog feed, which is often mainly photographs of site updates.

I am not an artist, but I was to some degree many years ago when I drew quite regularly, did many illustrations and painted in watercolour and some in oils. Later I worked as a computer graphic artist for a number of years. While I was mostly doing various types of corporate design and animation, I did a fair amount of experimenting artistically with the computer graphics software of the time, during after work hours and lunchtimes.

One of the reasons I suspect I was drawn to street art is that it reminded me a lot of the sort of work I did on those early computer graphics systems (this is the late 1980s and early 90s I am talking about). The early systems I used were 8bit, which only allowed you 256 colours, but you could create vignettes of 10-15 colours at a time and use shapes filled with these to create an illusion of shading. The later systems were full 24 bit or 32bit, as all paint software is these days. On those more sophisticated systems you had airbrush tools, which are in many ways similar to the aerosols paints most street artists use.

The other similarity is that the colours on a computer screen are luminous, as is the paint used in many street art pieces. I suspect this is because some of the paint they use is fluorescent - fluorescent paint includes particles whose molecules are 'excited by some spectrum of the suns rays and actually give off visible light. So when some street art looks as though it glows in sunlight, it probably actually is.

Having spent many hours photographing and 'curating' street art on this site, I was curious to see what happened when I tried to envisage some art of my own, using some of the 'vocabulary' of the work I have seen.

I sat down at lunchtime today and freeform sketched a few ideas. The page is shown below.

I have now spent a bit of time working up some rough colour versions of the ideas I had sketched.

Here, for better or worse, they are.

The first one started out as a idea for a solar system like an eye and I had sketched an eyebrow above it on the sheet above. The tears came quite spontaneously after I created the basic shapes. Once I had added them it seems natural somehow to evolve the entire thing into a kind of cosmic face.

The end result is too dark really, but seems reminiscent of the work of James Reka, which I often enjoy when I come across it.

But I came back to it a bit later in evening and tried some other variations, until I ended up with something much less elaborate.

I think this is a kind of play on ancient Greek architecture and the fascination of some anceint philosophers with geometric forms. It also perhaps echoes the cartoon like characters that often accompany the elaborate calligraphic names street artists uses. I didn't have time to create something that elaborate though.

Here is a version that is simpler...

This seems to echo the stencil form in street art, but I suppose if you were to actually create something like this on a wall, you could actually glue real dirt and a pair of scissors to the piece.


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  2. We are all emperors with no clothes, my friend