Firstly, Nost is still recognized as one of the most prolific graffiti artists in Melbourne today. It is impossible to know how many times Nost has painted those four letters. His tag was found in hard to reach places where thousands of people could see it. Some of his tags still remain on buildings, although the trains he tagged were the first to get cleaned. However, we have no idea about the cost of graffiti in Melbourne caused by Nost – what has he cost the city? This, a single lone tagger.
Nost’s real name is Shane Newman. In July 2015 he was charged with more than 30 crimes including robbery, trespassing, criminal damage to buildings, and possession of a graffiti device with the intention of using it.
Nost was given bail, but he was soon rearrested after allegedly committing more acts of graffiti while out on bail. In June 2017 he was finally jailed and sentenced to seven months in prison. However, he got released after a month due to the time he had already spent in custody.
Newman was born and raised in South East Melbourne, but he was living in Fitzroy at the time of his arrest. After suffering a heart attack, Newman went from being a hardworking builder with a life-long partner to becoming a methamphetamine (ice) addict. There is very little other information about him anywhere on the internet.
We don’t really know what drove him to become one of the most prolific graffiti taggers in Melbourne. But, we do know that he is one of the few graffiti artists who crossed over into public awareness.
In 2016 Nost was widely condemned for painting his pseudonym on a mural that had been painted more than 30 years ago. The historic Northcote women’s mural was painted by local artists Eve Glenn and Megan Evans in 1986. The piece represented the hardworking local women in this community. Nost defaced the mural so badly with his giant tag it was beyond saving. Was this a deliberate act of sexism or just plain vandalism?
This was certainly Nost’s most notorious work, but there have been hundreds or even thousands of others. Certainly too many to count.
It is thought that part of his work was motivated by revenge against street artists. Instead of just painting a name, or tagging, street artists are dedicated to painting images on the walls. Newman seemed to be in a war with the street artists. If an artist painted a wall that previously had a tag, he would mark it again.
The drug, methamphetamine and the resulting high could also be a driving factor. “The whole thing is to do with drugs,” a fellow tagger said. “He could just keep going and take risks. If he was straight, he wouldn’t be doing it.”
Nost was mainly specialized in marking his name in the most difficult and inaccessible places of Melbourne. His brand is one of the most removed graffiti in the City of Melbourne. It’s hard to calculate the cost of graffiti in Melbourne Nost has caused. His tag is often found alongside the tag of Pork and Lamb, so it is widely believed that these tags also belong to him, or someone he worked closely with.
The number of marks left, and his ability to paint in places that seem impossible to reach has left other graffiti artists in awe of his work. His tags are still found in many corners of Melbourne, especially in the city or in the north.
Of course, Newman knew of his notoriety. So much so that in some of his tags he added the legendary tags ‘almost at the top’ and ‘the bo$$’. It was almost as if he was provoking officials.
However, contrary to what one would think he was not caught while painting one of his popular tags. Instead, he was caught when he was walking around in an abandoned warehouse. Someone had spotted him and called the police. At the time of his arrest, Nost was in possession of allegedly stolen cameras and a cell phone with photos of his marks. It was enough to finally get a conviction.
In conclusion, the cost of graffiti in Melbourne is reported to be a staggering $100 million a year. During Nost’s brief career, said to span 2-3 years, he certainly contributed to this cost.
Choahan, N 2016, ‘Graffiti tagger destroys historical Smith Street feminist mural’, The Age, 26 February 2016, viewed 15 October 2017, <URL>
Bucci, N 2017, ‘Notorious graffiti tagger Nost has his name up on sites but now he’s carrying the can’, The Age, 02 June 2017, viewed 15 October 2017, <URL>
Cracks in the Ice, 2019, What is Crystal Methamphetamine?, Cracks in the Ice, viewed 15 March 2017, <URL>