Street art trend splashes into Albany CBD in time for long weekend

Headshot of Kellie Balaam
Kellie BalaamAlbany Advertiser
Albany artist Cody Hulkes with his mural in the laneway between White Star Hotel and Dylans On The Terrace.
Camera IconAlbany artist Cody Hulkes with his mural in the laneway between White Star Hotel and Dylans On The Terrace. Credit: Laurie Benson/Albany Advertiser, Laurie Benson

Whether you have walked the streets of inner-city Melbourne, seen the work of controversial street artist Banksy or taken a trip down one of Albany’s laneways in recent years, you might have noticed a growing trend — street art.

Murals are becoming more widely accepted in the community because of their ability to add vibrancy and atmosphere to a place.

Not only can wall art make a great spot for a photo in this social media age, it also brings a bit of colour to what might be an otherwise drab and dreary urban location.

I was in Melbourne on a family trip before COVID-19 reached Australia earlier this year.

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Visiting streets and alleyways filled with public art was high on my to-do list.

Admiring the styles of each artist and their depictions of art in an environment outside of a gallery was a fun adventure and great talking point.

Street art has a long and controversial history, but in recent years, it has evolved and been reinvented as a respected art form.

While some street artists might like to weave in a political message and make a silent protest, others simply aim to spread joy or encourage interaction with work from passersby.

This long weekend in Albany, three laneway art installations will bring colour to York Street. The pop-up installations were originally scheduled for the South West Street Festival in March.

Last week, local artist Cody Hulkes completed a permanent mural in a laneway off Stirling Terrace, commemorating the antics of runaway circus elephant Jumbo in 1929.

Hulkes told the Advertiser he hoped his work made people “feel excited and joyful”.

“Even though it is for everybody, I like my murals to be more child-friendly so it’s exciting for the kids,” he said.

The onset of COVID-19 restrictions forced the cancellation of the South West Street Festival, but one of the beauties of street art is that it does not require anything too elaborate by way of preparation.

Artists Nat Rad, John Carberry, Jo Taylor and Serena McLachlan will be in Albany this weekend adding a splash of colour to the main strip.

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