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 Lucy or Slicer has done.
Lucy Lucy, like other artists, has faced significant criticism for taking on paid work. Artists who are insistent on keeping street art ‘real’ have taken to tagging the works of artists they dub ‘sell-outs’; one of Lucy Lucy’s pieces was covered with a tag that advised her to “stop killing the streets,” calling her work “fake shit.” Sitting down for an interview, Lucy Lucy was confronted about the integrity of her work and was asked whether she would describe herself as a street artist, fine artist, or graffiti artist. The mere suggestion that she was a fine artist is likely a reference to the commissioned work she has agreed to doing. Despite this, Lucy Lucy answered that she was a street artist. The meaning of street art, then, is in the eye of the beholder (or the artist).
Slicer’s work has been featured in The National Gallery of Victoria, an institution that acts as a gatekeeper of ‘valuable’ art. It seems contradictory that a street artist, someone working independently to do illegal work, would want their art shown by a ruling power—a national museum and gallery. The Melbourne Central painting is in a chaotic and central space, right by the escalators that lead down to the train station entrance. Trying to get a good picture of the piece proved difficult because of the amount of human traffic the area surrounding the piece gets—I received many a dirty look for holding commuters up from getting down to their trains, which should show the premiere, highly-trafficked location of the piece. The location of the piece—Melbourne Central, and moreover, near the train station entrance—proves critical to the mainstreaming of this work of ‘street art’, drawing mass audiences. It is unclear whether this piece can even be called street art, though, since it is not actually in the street.