LEGAL walls or areas where graffiti is permitted exist right across Australia, with local councils using the facilities as a way of luring taggers away from defacing public infrastructure.
Parts of Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane have enjoyed success by implementing legal walls, while other areas have reported the ploy just didn’t work.
A Ballarat-based street artist, who uses the tag TYME, told The Courier yesterday a legal wall would solve the city’s tagging problems.
“You need any opportunity to paint legally,” he said.
“At the moment you have to go find a business who is willing to commission a wall, or do it illegally – which is much easier.”
TYME was part of the graffiti-duo who completed the mural on the side of the Skipton Street Fish Shop late last year.
He said businesses were commissioning walls around Ballarat, which meant those walls were now less tarnished by “taggers”.
“If we had somewhere to paint, tags would disappear,” he said.
“Somewhere like the underground car park near the library would make a perfect space.”
As Ballarat City Council tosses up the idea of legal walls, other areas have already tried and failed to use them to combat street tagging.
In the Sydney suburb of Paramatta, the local council established a legal graffiti wall in 2004, with the hope of reducing graffiti instances in their area.
Then in 2009 – it was pulled down.
In moving the graffiti wall be removed, Cr Michael McDermott said the wall, in a local park, had been a disaster for the community.
“We all support youth culture and the legitimate expressions of that, however we are caught in this strange nexus where expressions of youth culture have become ingrained with criminal vandalism and one is used to justify the other,” he said.
“It is wrong to attempt to solve any problem of illegality by normalising that activity and legitimising it, rather than solving it and addressing the underlying issues.”
Cr McDermott said he was convinced legal graffiti areas were not the answer to youth tagging.
“Graffiti walls don’t work.
“They become the epicentre of graffiti carnage causing a ripple effect out into the wider surrounding suburb and community,” he said.
“In our case we saw trains, train stations and all those roads leading to the wall tagged.”