Graffiti in Ipswich should not be banned, and young graffiti artists should be “channelled in the right direction” to maximise community benefit, according to prominent Camira street artist.
Exquizart, a Camira-based street art business, has become one of the growing numbers of graffiti artists and groups gaining international recognition.
Exquizart aerosol artist Steve Lowe said the main reason graffiti is such a frowned-upon art form is because of tagging (i.e. putting initials or symbols on public property), but tagging and actual street art go hand-in-hand, and the street art side of it should be encouraged.
“You can’t have the pieces without the tagging; it’s all part of it, and I think there’s a lot of talented kids out there, that if it was channelled in the right direction, the government and the community could benefit from it,” Mr Lowe said.
Some organisations in Ipswich are embracing the street art side of graffiti, and one example is the Goodna Youth Services.
About three times a year a piece of graffiti art is produced by the organisation, often in conjunction with a current youth event.
Goodna Youth Services Coordinator Mike Parker said graffiti was not in the order of a problem that could be wiped out.
“There are aspects to graffiti that express community angst and even political issues of the day,” Mr Parker said.
“It is a form of self-expression and anarchy.”
The Ipswich City Council is currently trying to get rid of all graffiti, using tactics such as instant removal and handing out graffiti removal kits, in order to deter graffiti artists.
Division 1 councillor David Morrison said that the majority of graffiti is just vandalism, but the problem is catching graffiti artists in the act.
“There’s some great graffiti artists, but a lot of the stuff you see around is just vandalism,” Cr Morrison said.
“It’s always hard to catch them [graffiti vandals] and have the evidence before the court, that they are the ones that did it.”