Melbourne Street Art Rone Little Collins

Where to find street art in Melbourne

In Australia, Street Art by Jaclynn Seah4 Comments

Melbourne Street Art Looking Up

Welcome to Melbourne’s street art scene!

To say that Melbourne’s street art culture is thriving is an understatement – walk its famous laneways and you are greeted with a colourful cacophony of art. You’ll probably find it harder NOT to come across amazing street art in Melbourne.

Melbourne Street Art - Hosier Lane Wall Fragment

A piece of Hosier Lane’s wall – that’s what years and layers of compacted aerosol paint looks like when you peel it off!

I’ve visited various cities for their street art like Penang, Hongkong and Lagos, and taken street art tours in London and Lisbon…(There’s a full list of my street art guides here) but there’s something about Melbourne’s scene that feels a little different from these. It feels less curated – there are the commissioned murals and large-scale art works, but these sit amidst a whole load of graffiti tags and amateur scribbling, which conveys a sense that the community actively embraces the form and its artists no matter what level they are.

The works here also tend to be more temporal and ever-changing – which is the true nature of street art – to me a sign of the growth of the scene as the artists keep pushing themselves to practice more and create better.

Melbourne Street Art - Blender Junky

Junky Projects aka Daniel Lynch is a really cool dude and he makes art out of junk. We’re standing in his work space at Blender Studios at the end of the tour

 

One of the first things I booked on this trip was the Melbourne Street Art Tours run by the folk at Blender Studios, most of whom are also artists themselves. I really enjoyed the walk and having our awesome guide Junky Projects explain the history and context of the areas as well as tell us about the artists. Also, you end the tour at their amazing studio space which is a great chance to chat with any of their artists who happen to be in that day.

A$69 for a 3-hour tour is the most I’ve paid for any street art / walking tour so far and may be a bit steep if you are on a budget, but other popular tours in Melbourne are around that sort of price range, and it goes to supporting the studio, which for me is money well spent for a good informative tour.

There is SO much to see – I spent a long time trying to figure out how best to talk about it, so I thought I’d show you some of my favourite pieces and areas rather than try to show you everything because that would be several posts long. (Google Map right at the bottom of the post)

So onward as we check out the street art in Melbourne:

 

HOSIER LANE + RUTLEDGE LANE

Melbourne Street Art - Rutledge Lane Alley

Being surrounded by street art 360 degrees is quite the experience

The tour starts at Federation Square, which is directly opposite the most well known street art lane in Melbourne – Hosier Lane is the laneway that connects Flinders Street and Flinders Lane, with Rutledge Lane as a smaller side lane off Hosier.

Junky showed us a different vantage point of Rutledge Lane – we took the lift of the neighbouring car park up four floors for a bird’s eye view, and it was a nice way to have a closer look at some of the works that were higher up on the walls. Street art and graffiti is a game of reach – stuff within easy access gets covered more quickly than somewhere that requires a ladder or harness!

Melbourne Street Art - Rutledge Lane View from Carpark

You probably wouldn’t have known to come up here if you were just a normal tourist walking around!

Melbourne Street Art - Rutledge Lane Carpark Looking Down

Even the floors have been painted, pretty damn amazing. Some time back in 2013, Blender Studios boss Adrian Doyle painted the entire alley blue as a bit of an artistic statement (it stayed clean for less than an hour)

 

What I also appreciated about the tour was Junky pointing out things beyond your tags and large-scale artwork as forms of street art – he’s a bit of a sculptor himself using recycled materials for his art, but there were lots of other interesting bits and bobs that he pointed out that I probably would have just glossed over.

Melbourne Street Art - Junky Pointing

Junky points at things. Good thing too, this one is more obvious but some of the pieces you would just assume are random things that got painted over!

Melbourne Street Art - Spraycan face

Would you even have noticed this spray can? and the fact that there is a face on it?

ACDC LANE + DUCKBOARD PLACE

Melbourne Street Art ACDC Lane Lightning Bolt

It’s all rock and roll in ACDC Lane!

Further down off Flinders Lane are another two oddly named lane ways connected in a U-shape – AC/DC Lane and Duckboard Place.

Named for the 80s rock band AC/DC (who I never realized were Australian), this lane and the art work here are tributes to their legacy. One almost expects to hear some hard-rocking music in the background just from looking at the art, and you might if you come at night when Cherry Bar is open, a bar infamous for turning Lady Gaga away to honour their earlier commitment to a local band.

Melbourne Street Art ACDC Lane Entrance

There’s a distinctively rock and roll vibe in this laneway!

AC/DC Lane connects to Duckboard Place, and its claim to fame is a doorway where you can find the last remaining Banksy works in this city – two stenciled rats on either side of a blue doorway. It is a minor miracle that no one’s painted over it yet, but perhaps that is some street artist code. Some of the Banksy works that I saw in London were covered with perspex for protection, though that didn’t do much against really persistent vandals!

Melbourne Street Art - Duckboard Banksy Rat 2

One Banksy rat parachuting down

Melbourne Street Art - Duckboard Banksy Rat

You can see this one more clearly

 

Melbourne Street Art Rone Little Collins

ok this is not exactly ACDC/Duckboard, but this shot of Rone‘s work at 80 Little Collins Street turned out to be one of my favourite street art pictures – I took this with the super wide angle GoPro for that fish-eye effect, but I love how the attention is all on the face.

CROFT ALLEY

This dead end alley off Little Bourke Street in Chinatown looks a bit dodgy to wander down, but it’s one of those laneways which hides cool little FnB, including the Croft Institute right at the end of the alleyway which once used to be a mental institution, but is a pretty cool bar with novelty syringe shots these days!

Melbourne Street Art - Croft Alley Soeurs

At the entrance to Croft Alley

Melbourne Street Art - Croft Alley Eyes

Walking down the alley

Melbourne Street Art - Fad Gallery Creature

This creature is based on aboriginal legends. Thankfully most of it is out of reach from the tagging

 

CALEDONIAN STREET

Next to the Emporium Mall between Londsale and Little Bourke Street is a lane filled with street art and graffiti

Melbourne Street Art - Caledonian Purple Eyes

This very distinctly purple face is hard to miss

 

SNIDERS LANE

Just opposite Caledonian Lane is another connecting laneway full of graffiti and street art, some of which are of pretty impressive size

Melbourne Street Art - Snider Putas

Entrance of Sniders Lane from Lonsdale Street

Melbourne Street Art - Sniders Lane Dragon

I really like this giant dragon inside the laneway by Putos!

Melbourne Street Art - Clay

More examples of non-mural street art

UNION LANE

Just off Little Collins Street close to the Melbourne GPO (General Post Office) Laneway, a very narrow laneway emblazoned with street art

Melbourne Street Art - Union Lane Entrance

Layers of graffiti

 

BLENDER LANE

The tour ends at Blender Lane off Franklin Street, which is also where Blender Studios is located, and you definitely know youare in the right place because the floors, walls and all available parts of the laneway are covered with art, absolutely amazing place

Melbourne Street Art - Blender Entrance

Melbourne Street Art – Blender Entrance

Melbourne Street Art - Blender Bird Dem

Singapore represent! Pretty awesome seeing Singaporean artists on foreign walls!

Melbourne Street Art - Blender Alleyway Floor

Even the floors are covered with paint

 

 

BRUNSWICK STREET / FITZROY STREET

This hipster stretch just outside the main central business district area is a hotbed for street art – I walked down Fitzroy Street to Rose Street for the weekend Rose Street Market and it took longer than I estimated because I kept getting distracted by the amazing works I saw!

Melbourne Street Art - Fitzroy AdNate Boy

AdNate’s trademark portraits can be found in several spots around the city, and now in Singapore too!

Melbourne Street Art - Fitzroy Brunswick Place Giraffe

This weird giraffe by cracks me up

Melbourne Street Art - Fitzroy Dragon

I was pretty impressed by this large dragon

Melbourne Street Art - Fitzroy RB man

I didn’t check the credits unfortunately! Added later (thanks Rob!): This is a collab between 3 artists – Sofles, Smug and Adnate!

Melbourne Street Art - FItzroy Rone Never

Rone x Wonder at the junction of  Gertrude Street – a very beautiful piece

As always, handy dandy google map for you:

 

Looking for more street art? Check out my other street art related guides at theoccasionaltraveller.com/streetart. I have a bunch of things to do in Melbourne beyond hunting street art.

Comments

  1. Jaclyn this is great! It is such a lovely article and I find that the photos are lovely as well. It’s just amazing how you put all these together on where to find street art in melbourne with such great tips! Looking forward to more of these.

  2. “I didn’t check the credits unfortunately!” The mural in Leicester St, Fitzroy, featuring a cigarette-smoking pie-eater is a combined effort by Sofles, Smug and Adnate.

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