This post aims to show two things: 1. Street|Studio: The Place of Street Art In Melbourne by Miso, Ghostpatrol, Timba and occasional Vandalog guest poster Alison Young is a much-needed addition to the crowded world of street art books, and 2. I am really slow about reviewing books and if you’re writing a book and want it reviewed here, it’s probably better to ask one of the other writers to check it out.
I’m going to start with the second aim because it’s brief and less important. I got my copy of Street/Studio just before the London launch event in July 2010. I was then traveling a fair bit, so probably didn’t end up reading it until August/September. And it’s been sitting on my desk since then solely because I am lazy when it comes to actually writing book reviews. So hopefully that clears that up. Now on to the important stuff.
Excluding the Everfresh crew’s book which I’m guessing is more focused on the single crew who are also included in this book, Street|Studio is the only book I can think of that looks specifically at the street art scene in Melbourne, Australia. Given the strong street art scene in Melbourne, something like Street|Studio was long overdue. The book is made up primarily of 10 in-depth profiles a select few street art stars working in Melbourne. Of the artists in this book, I’d probably heard of about half of them, but that does not mean that this book is filled up with random talentless hacks. Melbourne has an active street art scene, but many of Melbourne’s very talented street artists are rarely discussed outside of Australia. Maybe Street|Studio‘s greatest achievement is that it can work as an introduction for the rest of the world to a street art community that, for whatever reason, often seems more cut off from the global community than other cities.
That said, the interviews with each artist are very in-depth, so I was learn a fair amounts even the artists who I was familiar with before reading Street|Studio. I did realize, after finishing, that I hadn’t read the book in the best way though. I read it straight through, except that meant reading extensive interviews of artists whose work I was just being introduced to. That’s a lot of information to take in. For anyone who picks up this book in the future, I’d recommend flipping through the entire thing and primarily looking at the images, finding a bit more about your favorite artists online and then going back to read the interviews. I think I would have gotten even more out of Street|Studio if I’d done that.
The other day over Twitter, Inkfetish asked if anyone could name some innovative London-born street artists. I had some trouble with that (I think some of the current or former BC guys were raised in London but I’m not sure…). Of course, there are some innovative artists like Banksy who moved to London but didn’t start out there, but even including them, it can sometimes seem like a lot of the strength of London’s street art community is that lots of people want to visit. On the other hand, Street|Studio shows very the Melbourne scene as innovative and active, but that activity is coming, primarily, from a Melbourne-based (though not always raised) community. I guess I’m trying to say that after reading Street|Studio, I want to visit Melbourne.
Photos courtesy of Miso and Alison Young