Mural doomed

01. 775NEWSA WALL mural that took six weekends to paint will be removed because the new tenants don’t like it.

The mural was painted on the side of Highgate’s Soto Espresso by local artists Konfucius, Destroy and Idol. They’d donated their time and materials, with Vincent city council kicking in $1000.

But Soto closed after going into administration early this year and the place is reopening as the Mary Street Bakery under Alex Cuccovia and Michael Forde (Cantina 663) and Paul Aron and John Little (El Publico). “It will definitely go,” Mr Aron says of the mural. “It’s just not going to work with what we’re doing there. The landlord who owns the building was never consulted on it and doesn’t want it there.

“We understand it’s a beautiful big piece of community art, but people have to understand when you’re spending all this money to revitalise a business sometimes you need to make changes.”

He says he and his partners support local artists, noting El Publico’s murals were painted by locals, and if a new mural goes on the bakery Konfucius and co will be asked to do it.

But Konfucius, aka Ben Witherick, doesn’t appear keen, describing his art’s removal as “disgusting”.

“We’re not signwriters, we’re artists. They can get a signwriter to write ‘pizza’ or ‘bakery’ on the wall. We worked so hard towards this. We were pretty much shocked that they wanted to get rid of it.

“We spent about six weeks doing it out of our own time and money to bring a bit of brightness to the community.” Formerly into less legitimate forms of street art, he says the mural was an attempt to, “show people that you can get on the right path and do good for the community”.

by DAVID BELL

13 responses to “Mural doomed

  1. This business should appreciate obtaining such a beautiful asset in this beautiful wall. Not only is it a top level brand of street art, it is a talking point and a community landmark. Shame on those who remove it!

  2. I understand that public murals are not for everybody, and I am in favour of public murals every where there is a blank wall, this is my opinion and I wouldn’t dare attempt to change their mind by getting upset, however if this mural is painted over there is only 1 guarantee I can make, and that is that this wall be continuously hit and vandalised on a regular basis, there will be no amount of security and security cameras that can stop this area from being hit again and again and again! This is not a threat but more like a warning, it would cost the new owners a lot more to remove tags over a period of….. Forever! And they need to work out the maths in this one, is it really so bad that it will affect their business? This mural has brought many positive comments, and it’s beautiful vibrant colours are a true reflection of the time the artist have spent creating this masterpiece! I’m not sure what the new business is that is taking over the premises but already it has left a sour taste in my mouth! Save the wall!

  3. As attractive and impressive as the mural is, I can understand that it may not suit a bakery business (warm, golden colours, light, healthy, ‘family’ imagery).

    I’ve recently read how some Mural artists are painting on wall panels that have been pre installed on the building wall. Among other advantages, the panels may be later removed and relocated.

    Too late for this work but maybe It could be carefully photographed in large format then large prints installed at another business. Perhaps some progressive business could ‘buy’ the mural in this way for their own premises?

    • I agree. The wall panels are an excellent idea, too. The artists (and those that appreciate the art) should be aware that their art is subject to property laws and therefore temporary at best. They need to rethink their strategy!

  4. “We’re not signwriters, we’re artists. They can get a signwriter to write ‘pizza’ or ‘bakery’ on the wall.”

    Well that’s funny because they painted a damn website url on there in the first place. Hypocritic

    • Its their own artist websites to promote themselves Francis you tool! And how discreet and small are they

  5. I think everyone is missing the point. The owner of the building was not consulted and has stated that they were unhappy that their building was decorated ( regardless of how well) and that is the final say. If the owner was not consulted then the people who gave permission to to artists are the ones to blame for it being erased as they had no right to give permission for the art work to go ahead. Instead of blaming the landlord who wasn’t consulted blame the business who both violated their agreement and have a false impression as to the lasting nature of the image.

    • Well said. If the owner wasn’t consulted, then they should accept that it was a mistake and learn from it.

  6. Its their artist websites to promote themselves Francis you tool! And how discreet and small are they

  7. I think the art is interesting but it is on a wall that the artists don’t own. If you want to own your art paint it on a canvas and keep it or sell it or exhibit it or paint over it. If you are going to paint in the public domain then whoever owns the wall owns the art. I think talk of retribution is poor form it is hard work and financially risky setting up a business and I am great foul to those people who do it because it makes beauforte street a vibrant and exciting place to be. I will support the businesses that develope in the area. Good on them.

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