Joel (no last name given), of Lismore, covers his face to protect his identity as he stands beside one of his creations.
Joel (no last name given), of Lismore, covers his face to protect his identity as he stands beside one of his creations. David Nielsen

Facelift for Lismore's graffiti-covered walls

GRAFFITI-covered walls are getting a facelift with a Lismore art gallery looking to establish 'art spaces'.

Serpentine Community Gallery and the Northern Rivers Animal Services Op Shop in Bridge Street, North Lismore, are currently working together to create a mural on the end wall of the building they share.

Gallery director Corinne Batt-Rawden said art spaces were a great place to showcase original works, as well as improving the standard of what people perceived to be graffiti.

"We'll have a lot of artists doing work over time," she said. "It's pretty exciting."

Joel, who declined to give his surname, is one of the local artists keen to get started. Growing up in Sydney near Penrith, he found himself exposed to the seedier side of graffiti culture. "I started in Year 7, getting on trains and scratching windows," he said.

Joel, now 20, came to Lismore to study art and is channelling his creativity into a more mainstream medium. "It's a good release, I can take out anger on the concrete jungle."

Lismore business manager Graham Pearce has beaten graffiti artists by painting scribbles over the original work. "Rather than wiping it off we defaced it," he said.

Lismore Police Crime Prevention Officer Michael Hogan is supportive of legal art spaces, but reminds graffiti artists, or 'taggers' as they are known, there are serious consequences to their actions. "They can be charged with malicious damage and those over 18 are legally liable to pay damages," he said.

Councils and businesses are the ones who lose out when it comes to graffiti, being required to remove it as soon as possible from their premises using their own money.


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