More than just a Sbek on the wall
A GERMAN street artist named Sbek has arrived in Lismore to help bring colour and life to previously bland walls.
On his third visit to Australia, Sbek spent the weekend collaborating on stage two of the Back Alley Gallery, which covers the walls along Eggins Lane in Lismore's CBD.
Along with Coffs Harbour artist Snarl and Basix of Byron Bay, Sbek painted a mural depicting Nostradamus and predictions the world will end in 2012.
While many see graffiti as ugly vandalism, Sbek finds it inspiring.
"I just want to paint and to make grey walls really nice and colourful so I don't understand why people are so angry about it - it's a good thing," he said.
"The world needs more colour, especially in Germany where there is heaps of grey and when it's winter-time all the trees are empty. So my part in life is to make the world a bit more colourful."
The gallery is the brainchild of Lismore street artist Nathan Eyre and it is backed by Lismore City Council.
While most laneways are full of bins, rubbish and cars, the Back Alley Gallery aims to make these previously neglected spaces into an attraction for Lismore.
Using funding from the Lismore Business Promotion Program, the gallery's objective is to give street artists a place to express their talents without being criminalised, as illegal graffiti in NSW can lead to convictions and fines for defacing property without consent.
The gallery also aims to create an attraction that will give Lismore a unique identity compared to other regional cities and towns.
Hailing from Oldenburg in Germany, Sbek began painting after meeting a Berlin street artist at the age of 14.
Initiatives like the Back Alley Gallery are also growing in Germany.
"A lot of it is underground but also we have places where we can do big productions on legal walls," he said.
It was a joy to travel and learn about street art movements in other countries.
"I try to do this as much as I can... I like travelling around, meeting other graf artists and doing walls together," he said.
IS GRAFFITI ART OR VANDALISM? TELL US BELOW.