Category Archives: mug shot

Street art – suitable for children!

As street art has evolved and become more mainstream, a new audience has been found – the kids who live in the areas where artists strut their stuff.

And rather than covering their darlings’ eyes to protect them from the scribbles of taggers, the profanity and the inexplicable, savvy inner city parents are exposing their children to street art, to kickstart their creative development.

Street art has begun to feature in children’s books, and school holiday art programs are likely to incorporate a street element. Wilkins Public School in Sydney’s Marrickville recently had street artists Akisiew, Bafcat and Jumbo create giant murals on the school entrance and library. A bit further west, Dulwich High is a new Visual Arts centre, where street art heroes like Skulk run workshops for the next generation.

stripey underpass

Areas where street art is prolific are dense and accessible, so there’s always lots of people taking in the art, on informal and formal walking tours. (The idea for our first book came while pushing our sleeping newborn along Marrickville’s graffiti-rich back streets, and now other parents take their kids on treasure hunts to find the Stripey Street Cat.)

Why not plan a walking trip yourself? Take your time, get lost, discover something nobody else has seen. And go back again and again, because it will all have changed, that’s one of the great beauties of street art, its immediacy, and its confrontingly short lifespan.

Bring your camera, and bring a camera for the kids – they will amaze you with their different perspective on the art.

Here’s four of the best family friendly street art hotspots in Sydney and Melbourne for you to check out on foot, and some honourable mentions:


Newtown, Enmore, Marrickville, St Peters

This area showcases the diversity of street art… murals and paste ups and tags, elaborate pieces, and minute stickers and sculptures. It has a great mix of legal and illegal work, by artists like Akisiew, Hazzy Bee, Fintan Magee, Birdhat, Ears and Skulk, and stencils like The Stripey Street Cat, Pissing Boy and monstery.

sydney newington ears and skulk

Start at Camperdown Park in Newtown. The cemetery wall, featured in The Girl Who Made Rainbows, features works going right back to the late 80s. Then check out the famous Martin Luther King mural on King St. Station Lane hosts the Akisiew/Hazzy Bee masterpiece “The Birds of Arkansas”. Walk west to see a cluster of spectacular murals on Phillip Lane, the ever-changing walls at the corner of Enmore Road and Newington St, and the Live to Create mural on Scouller St.

sydney akisiew and hazzy bee

Stop for lunch at the family-friendly Vic on the Park, which has a huge street art wall out the back, where you might even see a work being created. Then head east on the 308 bus from Marrickville Metro to May Lane at St Peters, one of the best legal street art sites around (and it’s opposite Sydney Park, if the kids need a break.)

sydney mays lane

Regent Street, Redfern

Among the emergent retro stores and new cafes, muralists Bafcat and Jumbo have created a series of imaginative and beautiful pieces. It’s not far from Redfern Station, and you can loop back via the Australian Technology Park with its fantastic old workshops and machines and dimly lit cathedrals of columns and archways.


An honourable mention to the large legal wall at Bondi Beach, which is updated regularly, and has the advantage of being near a skate park. Oh, and Bondi Beach.


CBD Laneways

Melbourne’s lanes are the jewel in Australia’s street art crown. Almost anyone who is anyone has pasted, sprayed, drawn or scribbled in its filamented ecosystem. I’ve seen a Banksy, a paste up dedicated to Aboriginal cricketer Eddie Gilbert, and ”Bill Henson can’t paint” graffiti. Miso made her name here with elaborate paste ups that tore at the heart, and Be Free’s pieces always achieve a perfect, poetic synergy with their settings.

melbourne lane

Amongst the service shafts and garbage compactors, Centre Place has nooks and crannies full of visceral pieces, great places to eat and shop, and possibly the most breathtaking 100m of urbanity in Australia. Degraves St always has a new paste-up or two. Hosier Lane is one long mind-blowing canvas, of colours and layers and competition over style and place. Union Lane is a fantastic canyon where new artists often come to show off their stuff. And there’s about another 30 laneways with street art and cool shops and cafes.

melbourne union lane

The grid of streets either side of Brunswick St are replete with works, especially around Rose St – you could combine a trip with a visit to the Artists’ Market on weekends. Clever pieces take advantage of the walls and poles and hydrants.

melbourne fitzroy lane

On the east side of Brunswick St around Argyle St, there are fabulous pieces on fences and buildings, their grittiness thrusting against the quaint bluestone pavers. Along Johnston St toward Collingwood, there’s a cluster of studios, giving birth to impromptu installations and pasteups, and pop up cafes and bars.

About the author

 Peter Warrington is half of Not Quite Newtown, publishers of street art photography books for kids. Check out the crowdfunding campaign for the latest offering “you make the dreams” – featuring Akisiew – at


All photos copyright Rachel Williams, Not Quite Newtown


One day in Newtown, and not quite Newtown…


Beck, looking all Brian Jones, beckoning me up King St


Nobody gives a fig about cyclists!


GBH – girl by herself?


You Majesty looks like the Piss Boy!




Gumnut babies


Fitzroy Lane mechanic mural


Devo devotee, or Rust Never Sleeps?


This art is truly not FUKT


Off Denison St, cool geezer but he reminds me of William H Macy


I’m always touched by your presence, dear!


Reality imitating art imitating shit


Newtown Art Seat, and seater


Rasta metal mongrel!


One last rest at the Hub



Bailey St. oi!


Bailey beetles


Purple rain
, IMG_7863

X marks something or other


Postie therapy


Cathay away


Wild cats of Don St.


Aorta have more heart than to make a cheap pun about this


Don’t know about you, but I’m scared!


This was at the back of a house we lived in once in Fulham St. With the rents, this is about all we would be able to afford now : (


Big M little m what begins with m… Many marvellous murals on Margaret, look at them!








Oh yeah, you light up my dogshitbag dispenser


This is actually handpainted. Nice touch!


Giving me the good cat, bad cat routine, are you?


Sausage vent?


Enmore Tafe students colouring in between the lines


Ink ink, you stink


Australia St area mural by Akisiew and Hazzy Bee


Akisiew and Hazzy Bee signatures by Akisiew and Hazzy Bee



And these last two are from one of Newtown’s best kept secrets, in Station Lane, a mural by Hazzy Bee and Akisiew inspired, I can only presume, by the mass bird deaths in Arkansas over a couple of years :

All photos copyright Peter Warrington, copyright for the original street art pieces remains with the street artists responsible.

The second time around…

I want to come back as a pelican

I’m not actually planning to die

But it’s never to late to start planning

And next time, I want to fly


I want to come back as a pelican

How cool do you think that would be?

Fishing, flying and sleeping

And waking up next to the sea


I want to come back as a pelican

Not now, not next week

You better get used to the idea

Of me sticking in my big beak


I want to come back as pelican

Not a dog, a cat or a horse

I want to come back as a pelican

A good looking, young one, of course


Yes, I want to come back as a pelican

That could almost make death worthwhile

So don’t get into a flap

If you see me with a fish head in my mouth

And splaying out my legs

With eyes like saucers

And retractable head

It’s just me, practising my pelican smile


A quaver of quivering cockatoos

Last week we lobbed on the mother on a gorgeous Sunday, girl #1 running wild in the sunbaked suburbia, girl #2 obliging with a gentle nap in the car as I drove the streets of my old town, Bexley North, festooned as they were with an accumulation of consumerist rubbish. I love a clean-up campaign, but, with Ebay and gumtree and the like, they ain’t what they used to be.

Anyway, over coffee, my mum told me a flock of yellow-tailed black cockies had gone overhead. Raucous, like a bunch of Yabbas heckling Jardine.

I was sad to miss them; I like a good bird almost as much as I like a good plane.

We headed home as the sun disappeared, and around the corner, I heard a voice – “Mr Jardine, you leave our flies alone”. Up on the Foxtel cable, 17 black cockies. Diving in and out of a callistemon (bottlebrush). Talking shit and dropping shit.

I pulled over and snapped away with the phone. When I downloaded the images today, it struck me how musical this little quartet looked. Someone with actual musical knowledge might like to explain what notes they are playing on the stave…




A couple of years back, I developed an addiction. It grabbed hold of me, relentlessly. I must have an obsessive personality, or compulsive, or both. Because once i worked out how to use the black and white function on my Blackberry’s camera, I couldn’t stop.

My name is Peter, and I am an addict. Well, WAS an addict, the Blackberry went with the job, and Iphones just don’t cut it. They have clarity, colour, and ease of composition. The ‘Berry was cumbersome, clunky and crustating. But, in the right light, or should I say dark, it took these incredibly interesting (to me) low res pictures. They were more like sketches.

So I would deliberately get off the bus in the winter and snap 50 shots in 50 seconds, as the light failed and the dark took hold. The interplay of light and dark, of reflection, of built form; 50 shades of grey.

I harboured the ambition but lacked the discipline to sift, sort and show these shots. I dreamt up a poorly-conceived installation, “Mist”, where I would somehow source life-expired mobile phones, and glue a photo on the viewfinder, sell these for $20 a pop, keep some and give a chunk to an environmental education program around recycling. My arse got bigger and the installation idea stalled.

But this blog gives me an opportunity to test the idea. Do you like the photos – a sample is enclosed? Would you give this man $20 for a used phone, with original artwork? Is the recycling value of the phone more than $20? Do you know anyone with 100 used phones? Do you like the name Mist, and should I call myself Mister Mist at the launch? Do you have a Blackberry you don’t use, because I really miss mine; I promise to only use the camera… and Brickbreaker!

It’s grants season in Marrickville, and if your feedback is positive, I might chuck something together and see how it fares. It would be mistifying :p

All photographs copyright Peter Warrington, 2013. The chick with the teeth is a photo of a photo and the original photographer would have copyright, too, and they can share in the $20 if they contact me, if the project goes ahead.

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Drowning heart

When I was last in Scotland, more than 18 years ago now, I went, as I always did, back to Orkney. That strange collection of islands off the north coast, windswept, rugged, as much Scandinavian as Scottish, with a Pictish past to boot. Not for me the obvious delights of Skye or the other Hebrides. I went to Orkney the first time because everyone in the Edinburgh hostel was going to Skye. I fell in love instantly.

That time, in March 1995, I was accompanied by my partner, Rachel. She obliged me by sitting on a train north for two days, and then braving a two-hour boat crossing, sea legs not really running in her family. We ended up in Stromness on the Mainland, trying to track down a friend from Sydney, Cathy. We sat in the pub and looked across the water to Hoy, the sun blinding but the wind freezing, the weather so cold in Kirkwall that even the locals wore gloves. They could not believe we had come there in near-winter, when they were all itching for their regular break in Turkey. We had to settle a bet about which way Cook arrived in Australia. We got pissed, swore a lot, ate McCoy’s cheese flavoured chips.

We were going to give up the hunt for Cathy when we saw a note in the general store, saying “Ahoy, come to Hoy”, or words to that effect. So we caught the small boat the next morning, and were met by Cathy who, at 160cms or so, was working on a creel boat (the creel is a basket used for catching shellfish). They guy who owned the boat, Rick, happily offered to put us up. He took me out on the boat, which was an incredible experience, working the cold waters around the deep cliffs, plucking the crabs and lobsters from the deep and packaging them up to be air freighted to the Costa Brava. I did a bit, but not much, the boat was small and there was danger everywhere, from tangling ropes to flailing hooks. It was one of the best days of my life. That night, we all peeled a sample of the catch and had the best seafood buffet you could imagine. Beers at the pub, after watching Everton beat Spurs 4-1 to make the Cup Final. Reading Viz. Silly stuff.

We nicked off early the next day, going boat-boat-bus-train-train-train via a Force 10 gale, Inverness and Glasgow to hit London 24 hours later, en route to Paris.

The trip had to end, as all good things do. We came home, moved to Melbourne, came back. One night, the phone rang, it was Cathy, who had moved back about a year after we came home. Terrible news, Rick’s boat had gone down, all on board had drowned. Sadly, a common occurrence in the treacherous waters around Orkney. My heart sank. We had only known him for 48 hours, but he felt like he would always be part of the family. I imagined we would visit him for years, he would come and visit us in Australia, he was our special connection with a special place.

There wasn’t any sense that it could have been me. That would have been mathematical stupidity. It could have been Cathy, I guess. It was more that maybe it should have been me. He was such a warm, giving soul. Fun-loving, decent, hard working, family oriented, generous.

For some reason, I took it upon myself to write a tribute. I didn’t really have a choice, it just flowed out of me one night, I found a voice that I could never find in the years before when I had tried to be a poet or write songs. Then it hit me – this was “feeling”. This was “loss”. Not some abstraction, but a hole in the heart. I guess I’d been sheltered from true grief, or had just rationalised away the bad things that happened in my life, or to people around me. But I couldn’t rationalise this, it was personal, he had become Orkney, which was always meant to be my get out of gaol card.

Anyway, I asked Cathy and she said to send it off to Rick’s family. I did. That was pretty much it. We’ve never been back to Scotland, let alone Orkney, but not really because of this. More circumstance, and a love affair with Italy and Spain. Like most, we have headed towards the sun as we have aged.

I don’t think I wrote any poetry for 10 years, either, not until we had kids, and I started telling stories. Silly stuff.

I found the poem tonight, when looking for the Ring of Brodgar shot posted earlier. I’m going to have a scotch. And I’m going back to Orkney, if not before, then for my 50th. And you’re all coming!


Ring of Brodgar

Just found this photo from 1991, from Orkney. Amazing place. Need to go back… if you have never been, you should!