I didn’t know what to expect in the way of street art when I arrived in Sydney, I had done my usual Google exercise and discovered some in the suburbs but not much in the city centre. My frustration was heightened after visiting the Sydney Visitor Centre at the Rocks to be told by the person on duty that she didn’t know of any and that I would be better off Googling it. What I was told didn’t quite match their mission statement “Let our Sydney experts help you make the most of your stay in Sydney by providing maps, brochures, personalised advice”.
Undeterred I wandered the city armed with my camera in hand and discovered a plentiful supply around the CBD, from a variety of artist, some new to me and others whose work I have seen around the world.
Walking down Pitt Street heading to Circular Quay I spotted a large set of murals in Underwood Street, I have since discovered that they were added to the hoardings for the construction site for Circular Quay Tower and are designed to highlight gender equality.
My next stop was Harbour Street in Chinatown to capture the striking image of Aboriginal rights pioneer and elder, Jenny Munro, created by Matt Adnate, this piece is very similar to one by him I spotted in Melbourne. Whilst in the area I visited Kimber Lane to see ‘In Between Two Worlds’ by artist Jason Wing. When I saw it during the day the lane is full of blue clouds and silver figures, unfortunately, I was unable to visit at night to see it transformed by the illuminations. I couldn’t resist a visit to Paddys Market while there, it certainly was different from one of the same name that used to be in Glasgow.
There is an interesting video on the creation of Jason’s work on Youtube, it can be found here
While on the Big Bus tour of the city I spotted plenty of large-scale murals, one in particular, that sparked my interest was ‘Peace Justice & Unity’ on Pilgrim House on Pitt Street, this mural was originally created by David Humphries, Rodney Monk, Ashley Taylor in 1984, but during a refurbishment of the building in 2001 it was painted over, it was reinstated in 2003 by the original artists.
On the side of a nearby office building in Pitt Street, near Park Street, is another large mural called ‘Here, Now’, created by Sydney-based graffiti artist Elliott Routledge also known as Numskull.
The final large mural created by American artist Shepard Fairey, measuring a huge 44 metres high by 28 metres wide, this dramatic image covers the southern face of 309 George Street.
I took a stroll around my hotel in Surry Hills and up nearby Goulburn Street to find a vibrant collection of murals, I’m not too sure who painted them, I was impressed by the depth of feeling generated by the local population 4 years ago to save the ‘Route 66 Miss Completly’ mural painted by architect Peter McGregor and Paul White on the corner of Crown and Goulburn Street which was of great cultural significance to the local community. The mural, when it was painted 30 years ago, was advertising for the Route 66 store, over the years it has come to mean so much more to the community.
In addition to the murals discussed, on my last day in Sydney, I visited the Rocks Market and as I strolled around I discovered plenty of murals and street art, including an interesting 3-D mural of union and environmental activist Jack Mundey by the Portuguese artist, Vhils, this work used the same technique used on the Norfolk Hotel in Fremantle.
As can been seen, I found plenty of street art in the city and I’m sure there is much much more that I missed, I feel the staff on duty at the Sydney Visitor Centre at the Rocks on the day I asked about street art should be ashamed of the response they gave me.
The above murals I found in the CBD area, local transport took me to Bondi and Newtown & Enmore where I found even more.