Deterioration of Wheatpaste

Wheatpaste has different challenges from spray can street art.  Spray can art is easily painted over, wheatpaste has to be thoroughly soaked to peel off the wall, or just wait for it to slowly disintegrate over time.  The challenging aesthetics of a deteriorating paste up is similar to the response to graffiti in the community.

Rapunzel and her Princess at the Old Marion Inn

Deteriorating paste up images and graffiti have become a symbol of neglect and abandonment, or could be read as a sign of a healthy arts scene and a tourist magnet.  My preference with wheatpaste is in keeping with the medium; the paper is biodegradable, as is the flour, sugar and water, so let it disintegrate.

Rapunzel and her Princess at the Old Marion Inn, detail

Rapunzel at the Old Marion Inn was pasted on a wall next to a thick layer of mulch, home to numerous geckos, slugs and other popular night creatures.  Paper and wheatpaste is a tasty meal to slugs especially.  I find when pasting up next to a surface that has dirt or weeds rather than concrete, the image slowly disintegrates from the bottom up.  This is my favourite form of deterioration with the squiggly lines and delicate layering back to the original wall.

Deterioration of a wheatpaste image is often more interesting than its original pristine form.  This five metre mural on the YMCA wall at Glengowrie has since been removed and the entire wall repainted.