Blackbook Ink and Street Art Graffiti
Street Art is a dynamic modern art form that has gained an increasing acceptance because of the raw energy of the images, the skill of the artists and the hugely creative way in which street art melds into the urban landscape. Street art is by the people, of the people and for the people: it connects directly with everyday individuals and the young in particular. All street art is designed to connect directly with us through strong, powerful images and vibrant colour.
Street or graffiti art has become a common sight in most cities all over the world. Public attitudes have changed and it is now very much accepted by most people. There still remains a dichotomy, however, because of its continued association with illegal acts of defacing public property. While contemporary street art is generally accepted, it still occupies a place in the middle ground between something seen as illegal and an amazingly beautiful act of artistic expression.
Melbourne is recognised as a top street art city and has been at the forefront of promoting legally sanctioned street wall art. They have rightfully gained a worldwide reputation for the quality of the urban street art they have sanctioned.
Blackbook Ink offer street art paintings that are the result of detailed discussions and agreements with all our clients and we have provided some of the best street art murals Australia has to offer. Blackbook Ink will provide a street art canvas that is completely out of the ordinary and yet conforms entirely to our client’s chosen message, corporate identity and branding.
Here are some examples of what we have done and why:
Commercial: Sydney Water – Greenhills Beach Mural – Street Art Sydney
This was a project that was intended by the client, Sydney Water, to deter “vandalism” on its sewage treatment buildings at Greenhills Beach. The buildings had suffered from illegal tagging (graffiti writing of names) which had produced an ugly and unsightly mess. Making the courageous decision that public buildings do not have to look dull and boring, and let’s face it, most public buildings do, Sydney Water decided to contact us to find out how to solve the problem.
Our artist Sektor went round for a look and came up with some fantastic murals that turned the small buildings into works of art that have been extremely well received by the local community. Sektor took four days to paint local Australian animals such as a koala bear, an octopus and a shark on their buildings. Included in these murals were subtle graffiti lettering which would be noticed by other graffiti artists in the area, but not so much by the public at large. While painting the murals several of the locals passing by complemented him and said how good it was to see an unpleasant looking building being given new life.
A survey done by Gregory Snyder in New York City has proved that city areas with a higher incidence of street art have lower levels of violence and other crimes. Indeed, he goes on to say “residents, tourists, and high-end boutiques, co-exist with graffiti vandalism in a relatively symbiotic fashion.” adding more importantly that those neighbourhoods “attract[s] the type of urban ‘cool’ consumer that marketers call ‘taste makers’ and that advertisers and retailers so desperately want to reach”.
Street art also gives youngsters, who may feel disenfranchised by today’s consumerist world, a chance not only to express themselves but to excel and get the recognition and respect from their peers that they might never have had the chance to get.
There is a revolutionary, almost anarchic mentality among street artists. In Sydney the local law was changed to provide harsher punishments for illegal street art, up to two years imprisonment, which merely created a rise in the number of illegal illustrations: the artists were cocking-a-snook at authority.
Melbourne City took a different and more tolerant approach and is now recognised, not only in Australia but internationally as well, as showing how to form a positive relationship between the Council and the artists. The Council instituted its Graffiti Management Plan which “distinguishes between the need to remove unwanted graffiti in illegal zones, and permitting street art if property owners are willing.”
This plan states that “The City of Melbourne plans to reduce graffiti within the municipality through a mix of education, engagement, artistic opportunities, enforcement and quick removal while encouraging the production of quality street art by forging strong partnerships with stakeholders.“
It is worth stating here how the Plan distinguishes between “graffiti” and “street art”:
“Graffiti is the marking of another person’s property without permission. Graffiti can include tags, stencils, pieces and even colourful murals which have been done without the permission of the person who owns the wall.
Street art is artistic work done with the permission of the person who owns the wall that the work is being done on. With the proper permission, street art is legal in the City of Melbourne. Written permission is required from the building owner and a planning permit may also be required for a property in a heritage control area.“
This more relaxed approach has catapulted Melbourne into being one of the world’s leading locations for street art. Melbourne City Council rightly deserve praise for this good decision.
Blackbook Ink are happy to say that we always work within the limits of all local regulations.
Commercial: Dun and Bradstreet Murals – Street Art Melbourne
This was the second job we undertook for Dun and Bradstreet. We had already painted their offices in Sydney and they were so pleased with the result that they commissioned us to do their offices on St. Kilda Road in Melbourne as well.
Dun and Bradstreet wanted the work done in a similar style to their Sydney offices, but the catch here was that each of the rooms had a designated association with a particular country, these being Brazil, India, China, Russia and Japan. Over three days our artists As one and Sektor changed the ambience for the better and made the offices a more fun place to be and work.
Art, and in particular street art, is becoming more and more accepted in the workplace. As many recent studies have revealed, art is beginning to be seen as just as important as light, air, ergonomics, and the provision of “quiet spaces”. When combined together these concepts help make employees feel happier and more relaxed about their workplace environment and even makes them more productive.
Dr Craig Knight, who heads a research group called Identity Realisation (IDR) at the University of Exeter, has studied the psychology of working environments for the last 12 years. He has commented, “There is a real tendency to opt for sanitised, lean workspaces, designed to encourage staff to just get on with their work and avoid distraction.” Research however, completely de-bunks this idea and not a single study supports this notion. Dr. Knight remarks, “If you enrich a space people feel much happier and work better; a very good way of doing this is by using art.”
As part of his study to test his theories he asked volunteers to work for an hour in four different styles of workspace:
Lean: bare and minimalist, having simply what things were required to work.
Enriched: featuring previously arranged art and plants.
Empowered: where the participants could arrange the same art and plants.
Disempowered: participants arranged the art and plants themselves, but their choice of layout was then changed by the experimenter back to the enriched layout.
Results showed that participants who had worked in the “enriched” layout worked approximately 15% more quickly than people in the “lean” environment and had fewer health complaints.
People working in the “empowered” workspace showed a 30% productivity increase over the “lean” workspace participants.
People working in the “disempowered” workspace showed the same productivity levels as those in the “lean” workspace. This response indicates that it is not solely the presence of art (and plants in this case) that improves productivity. It is the combination of interesting and thought provoking art, plus a feeling of empowerment that produces the best results.
As Dr. Knight confirms, “In 12 years we have never found that lean offices create better results; and the more involved people are in the enrichment process, the more they are able to realise a part of themselves in the space”.
Interestingly he found conclusively that so-called “motivational posters”, containing wording such as “there is no I in team” or “whatever the problem, be part of the solution”, made no difference whatsoever.
Art can inspire people at their workplace and helps to stimulate creativity. As we all know, an office can be a dull, uninteresting place to spend so many hours of the day for so many years. Art in the workplace is increasingly seen as a way of reducing employee stress, improving their wellbeing and bringing a sense of fun to an otherwise mundane activity. Art can be used to create different moods in different parts of the workplace.
Dynamic artwork merges well in places where there is a lot of physical activity; for “quiet areas” artwork of a more contemplative and introspective effect works better. Bright and bold colours work well in waiting rooms and recreational spaces, prompting conversation and interaction between people.
Bringing art into the workplace sends a message from employers to employees that says “we care about you” and this message generates reciprocal respect from the employees.
It is a signal that an employer respects and values their employees. It shows that by investing in their people, an employer can motivate the employees themselves to feel better, work better, and thus boost productivity.
Not everyone believes that art can boost productivity, after all, it is a difficult thing to measure, but dramatic and inspiring artwork in the office environment definitely produces a much more aesthetically pleasing environment that absolutely leaves both employees and visitors with a positive and lasting impression.
Residential: Menai – Backyard Mural – Street Art Sydney
A cool couple from Menai in South Sydney asked us to brighten up a large expanse of dull concrete wall, a perfect pitch for our artist. The large retaining wall supported their swimming pool, so the concept we decided to present was for three portholes containing bright and colourful underwater scenes. Not only did the murals brighten up the wall, they gave the whole house a new sense of beauty and fun. Our cool couple loved the final result and told us how their grandchildren liked to go and stare into the portholes each time they visited.
We hope we have given you some inspirational ideas about how street art can change people and environments for the better. We love doing our work and seeing the obvious delight on our client’s faces, whether that is the face of a corporate boss, a dour council official who gets a chance to show they are not dull at all, or the grandchildren of our cool couple.
We have over 25 years experience of creating many different styles of graffiti or street art (whatever you want to call it!). Whether your job is inside your offices or outside on a huge wall we will find a way to convey your ideas and messages in a dynamic, attractive and inspirational way that will leave everyone with a good feeling.
Call us with your idea, however whacky it sounds, and let our artists roam free with your imagination and your sense of fun. Together we can bring beauty and happiness into the world, no bad thing that!