Barek (back) with his artwork and (front) Nathan Eyres, project manager of the Back Alley Gallery in Lismore.
Barek (back) with his artwork and (front) Nathan Eyres, project manager of the Back Alley Gallery in Lismore.

Artists liven up streets

SPRAY paint and stencils are being used to liven up the neglected lanes of Lismore.

And no, it's not illegal.

Community street art in Eggins Ln is being created in The Back Alley Gallery, an initiative backed by Lismore City Council.

Over the weekend artists, including Brisbane artists Guido van Helten and Barek, got to work spraying the second stage of the gallery.

Project co-ordinator Nathan Eyres, 25, said artists are now signing permits to work on local businesses and Lismore is gaining a reputation as town that embraces street art.

"It's eventually going to become infamous and we hope we can change that stigma that comes with graffiti. Hopefully we can humanise the people that do this stuff and make it a spectacle," he said.

Next weekend Snarl, from Coffs Harbour, will continue work on the gallery, alongside an internationally recognised graffiti artist from Oldenburg Germany known as Sbek.

Each artist was given a wall to work on and Erica Gully of Lismore, who goes under the name of kiki, stencilled her own self-portrait.

"This is the first time I've been involved in something that has been wholeheartedly accepted by the community and there's a camaraderie here where you get meet new artists and see how they work," she said.

Ms Gully said she saw street art as accessible to everyone, not just people who go to galleries.

"I think it will bring more of a reason to come to Lismore and it will be a talking point.

"It's gone from the whole tagging thing to something that can be more widely accepted and more aesthetically pleasing." Mr Eyres also said there was a difference between graffiti and street art, but the original spirit of the movement remained.

"I'm supportive of all aspects of graffiti and tagging because that's a part of its culture. You can't love graffiti and live it and not respect every aspect of it," he said, encouraging locals to visit the gallery and admire the work.

"You've got local artists on the street who are extremely professional and they know what they're doing. It's not that renegade guerrilla kind of art. It's structured."



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