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Fine art of deterrence: Art used to beat graffiti

STREETS AHEAD: Dan’s Designs owner Dan McDonnell, of the Channon, is helping discourage graffiti by painting murals on shop walls.
STREETS AHEAD: Dan’s Designs owner Dan McDonnell, of the Channon, is helping discourage graffiti by painting murals on shop walls. Marc Stapelberg

ARTIST Dan McDonnell has decided to fight fire with fire to tackle the Northern Rivers' rogue graffiti vandals.

The 31-year-old Southern Cross University visual arts student's fascination with the Melbourne street art scene led him to a light bulb moment.

Mr McDonnell has launched a new mural business, dubbed Dan's Designs, which aims to brighten up businesses while deterring vandals.

"I've been noticing a lot of graffiti around Lismore, so I wondered how I could use my interest in art to prevent it," he said.

"I've noticed graffiti artists and vandals like to work on a blank wall, so being proactive with murals like this should discourage them.

"Besides preventing graffiti, I'm also providing better aesthetics for businesses.

"Something that's eye-catching and with some style."

His theory is that most spray can vigilantes look for blank space to work on and often avoid established works.

So far, his work has adorned two businesses in Lismore and Byron Bay, with the oldest work still blemish-free after about six weeks.

"The last one I did was an antique shop in North Lismore, which was getting hit by graffiti constantly," he said.

"But now it's been done, it's held up so far and I've had a lot of approval of the mural too.

"The business in Byron came across the business from a flier I'd made in Clunes."

Dan's Designs focuses primarily on wraparound, eye-catching murals that aim to create a point of difference while also deterring vandals.

Mr McDonnell, a former hospitality worker, is graduating university in October and said he was always dreaming up new ways he could get paid to pursue his passion in visual art.

Topics:  art graffiti southern cross university



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