Living in outer suburbia, street art is restricted to tags which usually have a short life before being removed by council workers or volunteers. We had the luxury of a beautiful stencil on a fence in our suburb earlier in the year for all of two weeks before it was painted over back to boring fence. I think this is an issue for children growing up in an art vacuum who are separated by distance from the city areas where they have lots of exposure to architecture, art galleries, street art in all its forms and commissioned public art including sculptures.
In outer suburbia, my new favourite street art is pavement etching. In an otherwise barren field of mark making, it’s based on seeing a narrow window of opportunity and seizing it, as the concrete quickly dries to the point of no return.
The area where I grew up has lots of new subdivisions of the old large blocks and with every courtyard home comes a new pavement. Practise with tags on fences, dumpster bins and stobie poles must pay off when it comes to concrete etching, as the writing looks effortless. Writing into a pavement is a brief opportunity in time, with a one-off chance to get it right, and the speed of going unobserved, against the longevity of the final piece. The house I grew up in was bulldozed this year, and my brother managed to save a chunk of concrete from the back garden, with his footprints as a baby pressed into it 53 years ago.
Addendum: Since writing this post several pieces of the etched concrete were replaced by council workers