We are seeing history in the making in Melbourne’s laneways. The street artists of Victoria’s capital are defining the city’s urban culture with confidence and the back lanes are a living landscape of local creativity. Wandering around these suburban Melbourne laneways reveals eye-popping Melbourne laneway graffiti. One of the best ways to experience the soul of Melbourne is to wander the laneways to admire the collection of Melbourne street art.
These days, Melbourne street art has moved out of the CBD and into the suburbs of Fitzroy and Collingwood, where giant artistic wall murals are part of the allure. A street art tour guided by a practising street artist is the perfect way to see the city through a different set of eyes both during the day and Melbourne at night. After all, where else in the world would you find tourists elbowing each other to take photographs of a suburban car park?
Also read: 5 Day Trips From Melbourne
Melbourne Street Art
Fitzroy Street Art
The Rose Carpark is located in Fitzroy near the Rose Street Artists’ Market, which is in an intimate building and a great spot to shop for local crafts, jewellery and unique clothing.
As you wander around the back lanes, you realise the walls of Fitzroy are a living canvas.
You’re likely to come across a hooded artist create magic with a can of spray and the vibrant and eye-catching colours will lift your spirits.
Fitzroy is also packed with excellent cafes and restaurants dishing up delicious meals and snacks for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
So it’s not surprising that a favourite thing to do for Melbournians is to head to Fitzroy for a meal and don’t be surprised to find the best brunch in Melbourne here.
Collingwood Street Art
A well-known Melbourne street artist, Rone (Tyrone Wright) has painted murals around the world, in London, Paris, Barcelona, the Dominican Republic and Jamaica.
Rone is the founder of Everfresh Studio in Collingwood and is famous for painting murals of beautiful women.
Juddy Roller is another business that specialises in street art management.
The studio is a warren of artists cubicles and an eye-opener to the many different styles of street art in Melbourne.
Here are some more examples:
The Refugee is a famous mural of the young man holding a burning house and is the main feature on a three-storey wall on Easey Street in Collingwood.
The Refugee deals with issues of climate change and cultural identity.
According to artist Fintan Magee, the young man’s backpack is packed with materials to rebuild his flooded world and lost home.
Easy Livin Mural
The Collingwood power substation (corner of Easey Street and Wellington Street) is now a substantial piece of commissioned public art.
The murals are a collaboration between several artists, including Rone, Adnate, Mayonaize, Guido Van Helton, Askew and Adnate.
Melbourne City Laneways
Melbourne’s laneways are are warren of streets where you can get lost and experience the European charm of the city.
Off Flinders Lane, if you walk to the west you’ll reach Degraves Street, which is a great spot for food and excellent cafes with tables in the centre of the laneway.
Another great spot is Centre Place, which is short Melbourne Laneway packed with bars, cafes and coffee stalls.
It’s a popular choice for Melbournites to meet friends for a drink and a chat with lots of al-fresco eateries.
Centre Place is often used to promote the city and where you’ll find the famous Melbourne street art mural known as “City of Lights”.
To the east of Flinders Lane is the cobbled Hosier Lane, which is home to the city’s popular cocktail lounges such as Misty and MoVida.
Hosier Lane is the laneway where street art in Melbourne exploded and it continues to draw tourists and locals for wedding shoots.
The lane is a technicoloured pastiche of posters, stickers, murals, tags and stencils.
It was also where Masterchef Australia (Season Two) was filmed, showcasing the lane as one of Melbourne’s attractions.
This is an art laneway that is creative and every time you visit, there’s something different and unique as the art continues to change.
From Hosier Lane, head to Bourke Street Mall and you will come across another graffiti lane call Union Lane.
You won’t find any bars, boutiques or cafes in this laneway but it’s worth visiting to see the giant graffiti mural, which is one of the city’s best street art sites.
The entire wall is covered in art.
Union Lane was the result of a mentoring program launched by the City of Melbourne showcasing work created by 50 young artists.
As you can see, Melbourne’s laneways are an inspiration for artists, writers and photographers.
Formerly known as Corporation Lane, this laneway is a kaleidoscope of colour and creativity.
This is where Melbourne’s famous rock and roll bar, the Cherry Bar, started and you’ll find graffiti of gig posters and musicians.
It’s the place for AC/DC, Beatles and Rolling Stones fans and was named after AC/DC.
Look out for the 3D sculpture of Bon Scott and when you’ve had enough, pop into one of the lane’s cool bars to listen to some music over a drink.
Blender Lane (near Queen Victoria Market) has a gallery of diverse artwork of various mediums including aerosol, paste-ups and stencils.
This is the place to go shopping for artwork at the summer markets, jewellery and crafts.
Blender Studios has workshops, street art tours and runs shows.
Duckboard Lane is home to an iconic mural with roses and a butterfly by Steen Jones that pays homage to Melbourne.
It’s also home to an impressive mural of a man carrying a tree by Fintan Magee.
Head to Lee Ho Fook to munch on dumplings after admiring the artwork.
Presgrave Place has an eclectic mosaic of photographs, stickers, posters and recycled works.
It’s also home to one of Melbourne’s smallest bars, Bar Americano (standing room for 10 people only!).
A mosaic of handmade tiles pays homage to Legacy House and is the creation of those who lost family and friend defending the country.
Don’t miss the Greek mythology-inspired sculpture of Bauci and Philemon.
Graffiti Art vs Street Art
Melbourne is well and truly streets ahead in the race to be one of the world’s great street art capitals.
Melbourne’s street art is eye-catching, very impressive and most of them would be worthy of including in a collection of street art graffiti books.
These large artistic murals are painted on walls with permission of the property owners and there’s even a street art mentoring programme that offers young people the opportunity to learn from established artists.
So make sure you feast your eyes on the street art murals that adorn the buildings and explore the colourful and character-filled Melbourne laneways. Here’s a good street art walking guide you can follow yourself.