A Story of Triumph & Obstacle! tbCs Blacksmiths Way Street Art & Graffiti Project
Belgrave Massive & Sam Dreams painting. Other works by OG23 and Mikey21
tbC is trying to build on a street art/graffiti project in Belgrave, a township in the Dandenong Ranges 45 mins out of Melbourne. tbC was based in a studio in the township for nearly 4 years and engaged young artist members and locals in various painting sessions at the site. (tbC is now located in a nearby local community arts centre due to unaffordable rent, but still actively meets and works in the township).
Blacksmiths Way is a laneway running along the train line in Belgrave. A long row of shops have their back doors facing onto this laneway. This laneway is not the ‘front-face’ of these Belgrave businesses. In fact the laneway is pretty much disregarded by local traders. Rubbish is also regularly dumped in this laneway, which tbC regularly helps remove.
The laneway is used by many local residents as a walk way, either as a short cut to the local train station or as a back-street thoroughfare to parts of the township AND as a recreational walking/cycling space. Whilst painting there in the past tbC has met many of the users of the laneway and in ALL cases they have been positive about our activation of it with street art and graffiti.
The street art and legal graffiti tbC encourages and supports in this laneway is in some ways a successful solution to tagging – something the local businesses and residents have trouble living with. tbC has managed to engage local artists (even taggers) in painting works that the community can more easily appreciate. But this space doesn’t lend itself well to a commission style project. It’s history is steeped in 'piece' and 'tag' style works. Several graffiti crews have been painting in this laneway for years now – some with 3 generations of artists having painted in the space. This history and practice cannot be ignored, or stopped for that matter.
The local business and building owners have always (whether they like it or not) shared this space with the taggers, graffiti and street artists. All stake a claim on this site – the building owners by law and financial acquisition, the retailers by legal contract and the street/graffiti artists by cultural practice. ALL feel that their claim is legitimate despite the level of perceived legality. tbC believes there is a careful balance required for this site - one that includes the interests and participation of all three groups. If positively managed (and tbC has proved they can positively manage this site) we believe we can make this space a wonderfully aesthetic and inviting space to use and explore for all members of the community.
tbC has a team of painters champing-at-the-bit to paint. The key though is to let these painters have the freedom to paint what they want. (We are after all not paying for these works, so why should we assume we can tell the painters what to paint). tbC has a positive connection with the regular painters of this space and prior experience proves that everyone is respecting the space enough to paint works that have degrees of aesthetic appeal and are never offensive.
We are waiting for the Belgrave traders and owners of buildings to give us written permission to reactivate this project. If we don’t get this approval we will graciously step away from the project and Belgrave and leave traders, building owners and local community members to the natural ways of the ‘tagger’!
(tag on tag on tag …… mmm might look just as aesthetically appealing as anything else….. mmm maybe this is the way to go anyway!)
Long time local crew SDM
tbCs Rojo and James
Local artist Dwall
tbCs Art & Dharma
tbCs Sam, Sonya, Emma and Rojo
Sam Dreams - a rising superGIRL street artist!
Locals loving Callum's work.
tbCs young Riley having his first go!
Stampz's huge hit!
Ex local and world renowned (yes!) painter DVATE comes home to leave Belgrave these fine works.
tbCs Callum and Clare getting some art on the skips
tbCs Connor paying homage to the beautiful trees all around us in Belgrave
Another fine work by Rojo, James & Mikey21
Local Puffing Billy Posse (PBP) - three generations old!