Once again I find myself buried beneath an avalanche of boringwork and sadly the blog has gone a bit quiet. But as soon as I caught a chromey whiff of this issue from Australia, I knew I would have to tell you about it. I give you: Street Art.
Australia has a vibrant street art culture, and full credit to Australia Post for celebrating it with this issue. It has thrilled me since the moment I saw the front cover of the most recent edition of AP’s Stamp Bulletin (a heads-up for philatelic geeks), boasting the same glorious image that appears on the Hosier Lane stamp. I can never get enough of Matt Adnate’s enormous, breathtakingly realistic murals, often paying tribute to Australia’s indigenous peoples. Travelling around our shared hometown of Melbourne, they are a constant source of wonder and inspiration. Take a moment to appreciate the three storeys visible along the right hand side of this stamp to obtain a sense of the scale of his work. A visit to his website is an absolute must. He’s also on Instagram.
As detailed at AP’s Collectables blog, the other glorious artworks featured are Adelaide’s Vans the Omega, Ireland’s Fin DAC, and Melbourne’s Phibs and Rone. AP reports that the Phibs and Rone piece – with its piercing gaze of the female in blue – has been painted over now.
But perhaps this image’s destruction fulfills its destiny; Rone’s own website notes that “seeing his artworks gradually worn away by natural and human elements has taught him to appreciate the unexpected beauty of an image as it begins to blend back into its more prosaic surroundings.” The constantly changing canvases on Melbourne’s walls reward those locals who keep open eyes while tracing well-worn paths through the city. How wonderful to have this beautiful work preserved for posterity on a stamp.
I love this issue. I’m not sure what some of the old men of philately will make of it, but I give a whole-hearted Respect to Aussie Post for shredding the notion of which kind of art is Worthy enough to be featured on the nation’s postage stamps. To be honest, I was kinda hoping on some outrage from the right-wing tabloids or radio shock jocks about Australia Post Encouraging This Mindless Vandalism or some such, but I haven’t seen any. That’s either a credit to the cultural maturity of the nation, or an indictment on Australia Post’s publicity department.
I do have one criticism, or a question, at least. Why no artists’ names? If these works are good enough to be selected as feature examples, surely the artists deserve the same credit given to Streeton and Nolan earlier this year? Perhaps it’s a stylistic choice, some nod to the guerilla ethos of street art. I hope it’s not because some fuddy duddy said “We can’t put ‘Vans the Omega’ on a stamp, it would look stupid.” Need I remind you that Australia’s ‘rock posters’ issue featured a stamp that blared ‘Mental As Anything’? (You can spot it in my blog header!)
That aside, it’s worth me repeating this old chestnut: if you’re an Australian, and you’re reading this, remember that you are not obliged to accept the bland postage labels thoughtlessly slapped on your next package by post office staff. That beautiful $4 minisheet at the top of this page is available in post offices and will come in very handy to pay $4+ in postage. Even if it ends up in the bin, you will make this mundane world just a little bit less boring, and what could be a better tribute to the street artists of the world?