Selling Out: Street Art as Advertisement and Commissioned Works

deTour curated by: Unimelb, 2015

Street art is becoming mainstream, thanks in part to commissioned works by the City Council and private enterprises. The art form has come quite a way from being underground, illegal, and threatening—street art is now considered to be family-friendly and is thereby endorsed institutionally, drawing tourists to come see these works of art.

My tour takes the participant through the CBD, beginning at an art supply store on Little La Trobe Street and ending up in Melbourne Central. This tour draws insight into the commercialization and 'selling out' of street art, featuring notable commissioned works in Melbourne Central and shops who use street art to advertise their products. My project invites the participant to question the ethics of selling street art, and whether the artwork/artist can maintain their integrity when they put their art up for sale.

Locations for deTour

Melbourne Artists’ Supplies, an art supply store hidden in the Little La Trobe Street laneway, is completely decked out in street art. Every surface of the storefront’s exterior is covered in whimsical and geometrical designs, looking far more…

The painted train platform in Melbourne Central is a clear representation of the institutionalization of street art. Here we see the intersections of the government operated public sphere—transportation infrastructure—with independent street…

To be considered for commission, a work of street art must reveal technical skill and be aesthetically pleasing. For street art to fly with a governing body, such as the City Council, it should also be the antithesis of its unruly and criminal…

One level up from the painted train platform is another commissioned work by Lucy Lucy and Slicer. Both artists are a part of the Melbourne-based Awol Crew, with Slicer being the founder of the group. This is not the first commissioned work that Lucy…

Kaffeine has done several commissioned works for Melbourne Central, her latest being the columns on the ground level of the shopping mall. The columns feature whimsical characters—a fox on one, and a boy giving a deer/cow/unidentifiable animal a…
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