Film captures city’s graffiti

A still from Wayne Waples’ The City of Art, by WW Films.

A SHORT film delving into Perth’s street art scene has documented the good, the bad and the ugly of graffiti and murals.

From grand commissioned murals to tag-ridden alleyways, filmmaker Wayne Waples has sought out the people behind both endorsed and illegal pieces for his doco ‘The City of Art’.

“Initially it was very hard to speak to the ‚Äî let’s say ‘illegal’ ‚Äî graff writers,” Waples told us. “There were trust issues between them and the media … the graffers or taggers, those ones were a lot harder to convince to talk to me.”

He started with the aboveground; professionals paid by property owners and governments to pretty up the neighbourhood, and eventually worked his way to the more clandestine artists.

“It’s all nice and dandy to get the legal perspective, but the illegal ones, to find out why they do what they do, that’s interesting.”

He says “what I found fascinating is these graff writers don’t always do it to bignote themselves” by spraying their signature around. “Sometimes they just want to relax. They’ve found some older building that’s not in use or some wall that’s not in view, so for them it’s just a nice weekend where they can do some painting and enjoy the time.”

The scrawls are usually just a lack of time or not understanding the etiquette, someone “who doesn’t know the ‘rules’ about not going over someone’s work… either young people who are new to the scene, or just opportunistic people.

“If that person had more time, they would probably go back and do a bigger, nicer piece.”

Waples says while property owners are often distraught by taggers, mural artists are pretty philosophical about getting their work marked up, taking an “it is what it is” mindset.

“I think everyone does expect that once you put the work out there, you don’t know what’s going to happen to it.”

The City of Art screens at The Backlot in West Perth on October 27, tickets via


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