Lismore street artists turn professional
IT HASN'T yet been removed brick by brick and sold for $500,000, or preserved in perspex like ultra-hip British street artist Banksy, but there's enough local demand for Lismore street artist Justin Livingston's work to almost earn him a full-time living.
Sydney-born Mr Livingston is just one of a number of local street artists who have seen a steady stream of private commissions since their art started appearing in the back alleys of Lismore.
"I've done more paid work in the last two-and-a-half years here in Lismore than I did in 30 years in Sydney," Mr Livingston said.
"The Back Alley Gallery's been a really positive thing for the artists.
"I'd never thought I'd have this much work on."
Mr Livingston was involved in the Back Alley project from its early days in late 2010 when he moved up from Sydney, and has a handful of works on the walls, including this eye-catching Alice in Wonderland mural.
Now his work adorns public spaces from Lismore to Byron, with more in production.
He's currently preparing pieces for an exterior wall of Lismore's Civic Motel, a marine shed in Ballina, and Lismore's Blockbuster video store on Keen St.
It's no secret that street art has come of age in recent years, with top names being paid big to jet-set their way across the globe, aerosol cans at the ready.
And by all accounts Lismore's Back Alley Gallery has provided a perfect launching pad for our region's street artists, with most of Mr Livingston's clients coming to him after seeing his work in the alleys.
It's also been a fantastic connector of like-minded people, with local art galleries, clothing labels, and screen printers all taking a keen interest in the project.
So what's the advice for up-and-coming artists?
"Do as much work as you can for free. No job is too small or too big."