Let’s face it, the year 2020 (and 2021 so far), has been a challenging time for the whole world. But what has been the impact of Corona on graffiti in Melbourne? Many graffiti artists use this medium as a point of social conscience or to raise political awareness. The artist community reaction to the Coronavirus has been no exception. In fact, many artists, including the infamous UK graffiti artist Banksy, have made several prolific statements about their stance on the virus. This includes the defacement of an inner-city train in London where Banksy depicted rats sneezing and wearing masks. So, has there been an impact of Corona on graffiti in Melbourne?
In the early months of 2020, Australia’s graffiti scene was dominated by the massive bushfires that burnt over 17 million hectares of land and destroyed more than 3,000 homes. The fires also killed at least 34 people, plus over a billion animals.
In Melbourne’s famous Hosier Lane, graffiti artists took up their brushes, their spray cans and their markers with an outpouring of support for the fire-fighters and other frontline workers. “Thank you Fire-ies” was emblazoned across walls, along with an image of a fire-fighting koala painted by a group of graffiti artists to pay tribute and to raise money for the cause. All money raised went to the World Wildlife Fund’s bushfire recovery project.
In February 2020, barely a month later, Hosier Lane itself came under attack. Camera footage shows a group of about 6 people wearing masks using spray-paint guns to cover or destroy the existing work in the famous street. Sadly this included the tributes to the fire-fighters. This act was considered as a protest by a group of graffiti artists against the commercialisation of Hosier Lane. While some street artists saw this act as presenting a blank canvas to start all over again, others saw the act as a blatant form of vandalism.
Around the world, graffiti artists have been moved to comment on the Coronavirus and the various restrictions. But what has the impact of the Coronavirus been on graffiti in Melbourne?
There has been a general outpouring of support for health workers, including a beautiful mural in Black Rock depicting a nurse with wings with the weight of the world in her hands.
Image: Front Line Heroes Mural from Melbourne Murals
Graffiti artists, both commissioned and illegal, have given their political views, recognised the heroes of the pandemic, and poked fun at the craziness of the Coronavirus crisis.
While most of us will agree these murals are works of art, what about the taggers and general graffiti vandalism? Has there been an increase or decrease within communities?
Like most cities in the world, the State of Victoria and Melbourne itself spent the majority of 2020 under strict ‘stay at home’ orders from the local government, otherwise known as a lockdown. However, did these lockdowns have and impact on graffiti in Melbourne? Of course, the normally busy streets within Melbourne’s street art hubs were empty through the lockdowns, but that doesn’t mean new works of graffiti did not pop up.
Many graffiti artists expressed their disdain for the politicians or their contempt for the panic buying of toilet paper and other items. Others resorted to tagging “Fuck Corona” as an expression of their frustrations due to the lockdowns, and restrictions to freedom of movement.
While the lockdowns did decrease activities within communities, there were still some words of hope. Graffiti messages about social distancing, the wearing of masks and washing hands have become common sights. However, if you became a victim of unwanted graffiti during the lockdown, did you have access to professional graffiti removal services in Melbourne?
During normal circumstances, any cleaning service is considered essential. However, we are far from what we used to consider ‘normal circumstances’. During the strict lockdowns during 2020 and early 2021, businesses were restricted from operating, and this included professional graffiti removal services. Melbourne has endured one of the longest and strictest lockdowns in the world. But the end is in sight.
Now, as restrictions are lifting, businesses that offer cleaning services are able to operate with strict Covid-19 protocols in place. You can be rest assured that here at Ablate we are following all of the government guidelines including temperature checks for all our employees, mask-wearing, hand sanitising and social distancing. It’s been a tough year for everyone, but now we are able to offer you our full services again!
So, if you have been a victim of graffiti and need professional advice for its removal, contact Ablate for a no-obligation FREE quote today.
Jo’s varied working career has taken her from being a successful restaurant manager (and owner) to starting her own yacht brokerage in Cape Town, before delivering sailing yachts for clients all over the world. After a sailing trip from Cape Town to Belgium, she and her husband returned overland from Cairo to Cape Town with folding bicycles. This amazing experience prompted Jo to write a book, ‘A Hitch-biker’s Guide Through Africa’ which is available as an ebook on Amazon. Since then she has been writing original content and editing for various clients.