During the first weekend of August, Inner West Council celebrated the Perfect Match initiative, aimed to prevent unwanted graffiti and also as a measure to increase the resources allocated for graffiti removal. The weekend included three days of free street art, culture tours and neighbourhood celebrations.
This is the fourth year that the program has taken place and it was originally developed to deal with graffiti problems. Part of it consists of the pairing of property owners with street artists. The owners were invited by the council to volunteer their properties so artists can paint murals on them.
During the weekend locals across the inner west were able to celebrate and unveil 16 new artworks in Newtown, St Peters, Sydenham, Stanmore Petersham and Dulwich Hill. Victoria Johnstone, the arts and cultural development coordinator of the council, said the artists were paid a good fee for their work, since it is normal for councils around the country and the world to spend money on graffiti prevention.
Johnstone also said that about 10 other councils have contacted her with the interest of designing similar projects, she also pointed that the benefits of this initiative include the creation of contemporary artwork and the sharing of understanding between artists and the community. In March, a proposal was passed by the City of Sydney allowing murals and artwork to be created without the need of council approval.
One example of the artwork resulted from the initiative can be seen in Marrickville. Brett Gough and Flavia Deoliveira signed up to it after many weekends of painting over graffiti and tags on the side of their terrace house. The artist in charge of painting the wall was Brad Robson, who depicted four portraits of characters who either lived or worked in Marrickville.
The four portraits include athlete Annette Kellerman, drag queen Betty Grumble, fashion designer Akira Isogawa and poet Henry Lawson. Robson, who also lives in the suburb, said he wanted to bring across the diversity and culture that the suburb brings into the city.
The murals, which can be seen on the corner of Philpott Street and Stevens Lane, were really appreciated by the property owners, since they considered the previous state of the laneway as dodgy, boring and grey, which made it a target for taggers and vandals.
Even though the benefits of the initiative to prevent graffiti with street art, Robson said it was ‘confusing’ because graffiti and street art are the same thing, but spending more time on a mural seems to be more respected than graffiti.