Post by Adriana Alvarez.
Tiffaney Bishop Collective (tbC) has some great initiatives and their mural project is no exception. Their aim is to paint murals along Blacksmiths Way on the back walls of the Belgrave shops and to encourage young artists to express themselves in a creative and positive way.
But to paint on peoples walls you need their permission so with the help of Yarra Ranges councillor Samantha Dunn and the Yarra Ranges Youth Services department a letter was sent out to building owners asking them if they would be happy to engage in the project which would be managed responsibly by tbc. If everyone agreed they hope that the works would then morph into the whole laneway. An ambitious project which would see an otherwise boring back lane be transformed into an arts precinct.
To encourage people to get on board tbc have started by painting their own walls and the ones adjacent to them. It will be more street art than graffiti with older more seasoned artists being used as role models for younger artists. Emma Jennings is the first of these artist, “I think part of the objective is to discourage tagging and the illegal work that’s going on and encourage young people to think about the design and different styles and that’s why I’m here” says Emma. It’s also partly about exposing the project to a different group of people and getting different styles of art on the walls. “We’re trying to get the other shop owners to agree to it as well, and not everyone wants graffiti on their back wall legal or otherwise. So if we can get a range of styles going then it’s a collaborative project, with lots of interesting artwork going on,” explains Emma.
But Tiffaney Bishop is quick to point out that the project is more for the young artists. “The main reason for doing it was to engage young people in productive and positive ways, and deter them from their negative stuff so you have to accept a degree of youth aesthetics in the work. I’m really happy about the role modelling but it’s not about just giving adults the exposure it’s more geared to young people and letting them have the creative freedom to make the space their own,” says Tiffaney.
The plan is to find a budget for it eventually so that artists get a nominal fee to do it but at his stage it will be a slow roll out. tbC will be paying for all the expenses so there’s a limit to how fast it can be done. “Some of the works may not be to everyone’s liking or even be great works but that’s all part of the process of learning. So people have to suspend their judgement a bit and allow young people to express themselves,” adds Tiffaney.
Two shop owners are on board out of the 13 and two more are in negotiations. The idea is to live paint it at the End of the Line festival either on the existing walls or the new walls and to do all the mini skips as well since they have permission to paint all those.
Asher, one of the young artists involved in the project sums it up nicely, “It’s a good motivation to come down and paint the walls. It adds a bit of colour to a boring space and makes them look good. You look at the walls and picture what you can do there but you don’t want to paint them without permission, because that just leads to trouble. If we can get them all commissioned that would be good.”
Any artists interested in participating or being a role model in this space should contact tbC.