Graffiti writers increasingly want legal work

Graffiti writers and experts are putting pressure on councils to create more legal art walls.

Street art and graffiti are often notorious for their illegal nature and frequent appearances as vandalism.

However graffiti writers and arts lecturer Dr Cameron McAuliffe said experienced graffiti writers and street artists are looking for ways to practice their art legally to ‘focus on developing their art instead of on not getting caught.’

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, ‘state and local governments spend more than $100 million a year cleaning up graffiti in NSW.’

Dr Cameron McAuliffe appeared on a graffiti panel at 4EMP’s Bankstown Hip Hop festival in March, with other graffiti writers and experts, Matthew ‘Mistery’ Peet, Dr Charlie Coorey and Mikey Freedom.

From left to right: Matthew ‘Mistery’ Peet, Charlie Coorey, Mikey Freedom AKA Jester and Dr Cameron McAuliffe

Dr McAuliffe doesn’t believe in blanket bans on graffiti work as they’re ‘too expensive.’

Another arts lecturer from Western Sydney University, Mr Coorey, believes that graffiti normally gets missed by councils.

“I think there’s very few councils across NSW who’ve included legitimately [sic] street art as part of their policy,” Mr Coorey said.

Legal art walls are walls often put up by councils around Sydney that are open to graffiti and street art.

May Lane in St Peters. Photo by ABC’s Lisa Clarke.

While there is a fear something undesirable might go up, Dr McAuliffe said, “if somebody doesn’t like it it’s only going to be here for a short amount of time and something new is going to be up.”

The push for more legal art walls stands as an alternative to councils having to approve artworks before they are painted. An idea already realized with a lot of areas in the heart of Sydney.


Currently there are three legal art walls in Sydney.
Although areas can be mistaken to be legal because they are commonly used, so always check with your local council.



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