Now we walk to our next stop, the beautiful piece Phibs completed recently on the corner of Perry Street and Smith Street. Phibs, prolific in the Sydney and Melbourne street art scene, draws large inspiration from nature. Thus the connection to the café whose exterior wall he has painted, ‘Friends of the Earth’ (all edible produce is organic or biodynamic), is clear. Phibs connects the urban and the organic, as the prominent position of the flying bird and also the two fish on the left side mesh beautifully into the urban form of the building.
Also, the fantastical nature of the work is evident. Phibs’ use of a strong colour palette and the contrast of symmetry and asymmetry allow a sense of escapism in his work. How do some of the more abstract parts of the piece appear to you?
Phibs also features heavily in curated galleries, and his murals are paid commissioned pieces. This highlights the growing commercialization and gentrification of street art in Melbourne, which is growing as a brand and a focal point of tourism. In this sense, the nature of street art has moved from a political subculture with essentially anti-establishment roots to a booming business, encouraged by local councils, where artists can now earn a living and fly across the world for their craft.