Melbourne Street Art & Graffiti Tour

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EXPLORE Melbourne’s famous street art and graffiti in the city’s labyrinth of lanes. Don’t miss one of the most radical urban art movements in the world. See also our SCHOOL TOURS.
VIEW  stencils, paintings, paste-ups,  3D structures,  installations and mosaics by some of the world’s best artists and crews..
IDENTIFY local, interstate and international artists;
DISCOVER the architecture behind the paint –  the history of lanes, buildings, venues and 150 year-old walls.
LEARN the difference between street artists, street writers, graffiti taggers and how the ‘permit lane’ system work.

EXPERIENCE the social culture of the back lanes where Melbournians celebrate their artists, cafes, music and coffee.
MAPS are provided to street art locations so that you can return with friends and family.
PUT UP and keep a piece of creative street art in the tradition of street artist, Slinkachu

WHERE? Tours are 2.5 hours (2 hours for schools). We normally start from Federation Square


The Street Art Walking Tour guided by Melbourne Walks was a fabulous event. We highly recommend it for people visiting Melbourne but also to locals who haven’t yet seen the amazing works that enliven the back lanes of our city. We had a wonderful guide who introduced us to works by local and international artists, and to parts of the city I never knew existed. The art was breath-taking and I couldn’t help but wonder how the artists had managed to paint such brilliant works while at times scaling walls high above the lane way below. We had stories of the history of different buildings and lanes, and of rivalries  among the artists. We were a group of conference participants and it was a great way for us to get to know each other and have some fun away from the conference. Definitely something memorable to do in Melbourne whether in a group or on your own! And great value!”
Paula Keogh, RMIT University.

Thank you for leading the Lyceum Club ‘Ramblers’ on your Street Art walk and for your most interesting commentary.   It  was very obvious that all of the ladies were totally over-awed with what you showed them. You have given them much to talk about.
Lyceum Club

Just to say thanks for the terrific tour on Monday.  I am sure everyone really enjoyed it as we discovered Melbourne street artists and learned their history.
Members, Professional  Tour Guides Association of Australia.

See our YouTube film below with Pear Tongue performing:

Forms of Melbourne street art seen on our tour include:

  • Stencils: Transferring images to a surface with spray or roll-on paint using paper or cardboard cut-outs.
  • Paint: Most artists or writers use paint as their medium using hand-held spray cans.
  • Sticker or paste-ups: Creating an image or political or other message using homemade stickers and posters.
  • Mosaic: Using smaller parts or pieces, to create a larger piece of art.
  • 3D: Three-dimensional pieces or objects adhered to walls.
  • Installations: Using objects and events to create a wide variety of art sculptures and art objects including neon signage, events and video projection onto surfaces.
  • Typographies:  Historic signage, posters, advertisements, and neon from the past all tell a story.
  • The Lanes. The art is stunning but so is the spectacular setting in the lanes which have serviced the city since the Gold Rush. Industrial brick, bluestone and old infrastructure such as iron winches abound in what was once the manufacturing heart of Victoria producing textiles, furniture and manufactured goods. Other lanes were once the locations of bagnios, opium dens, impoverished communities and Chinese immigrants. We tell their stories as we go.

What is street art? 

Street Art and Graffiti are controversial and democratic forms of public art. This public art is labelled ‘Street Art’ when permitted by authorities. Without permits, this art is often labelled as graffiti or tagging yet many graffiti works are highly important creative and political pieces.  Many artists consider illegal graffiti as a radical endeavour that challenges the status quo and the concept of art as a collectable trophy. Yet others view Graffiti, particularly  ‘tagging’, as vandalism. We explore how this creative tension plays out as we walk the streets.

Artists have played an essential role since the  1990s in bringing Melbourne back to life. The City has used street art permits since 2007 to support fantastic and imaginative colour and design by artists on unused or obscure walls with the consent of property owners. Annual public art commissions in the laneways have also encouraged a wide range of artistic experimentation.  In 2005 street artists from across Australia illustrated Hosier Lane for the film Ghost Rider. In November 2013, 100 artists, assisted by six cranes and curator Dean Sunshine, were invited to totally repaint Hosier and Rutledge Lanes for the huge ‘Melbourne Now’ exhibition. See article.

Today’s street art is part of a long tradition of Melbourne counter-cultures in the footsteps of movements like the early Bohemians, the Heidelberg School, Angry Penguins, Dadaists and the 1960s Drift.  Even the contemporary Indigenous art movement has radical elements.

Books on Street Art

  • ‘Everfresh: Blackbook. The Studio and the Street 2004-2010’. Miegunyah Press.S;
  • ‘Stencil Graffiti Capital, Melbourne’; J.Smallman and N.Nyman;
  • ‘Street/Studio’ by Alison Young, Ghostpatrol, Miso  and Timba Smits;
  • ‘Kings Way- The Beginnings of Australian Graffiti:Melbourne 1983-93’.
  • Land of Sunshine. A Snapshot of Melbourne Street Art 2010-2012 by Dean Sunshine
  • Street Art Now, Melbourne, Australia and Beyond, 2010-2014 by Dean Sunshine

Useful websites and articles:


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