At Aerograffix, we were contacted recently by a Community Worker for a new graffiti prevention project. Initially, I (Ainslie) was excited, as I thought the project sounded exciting, exactly what Brisbane needed, BUT….after three scheduled meeting attempts, and waiting for over an hour for a ‘catch up over coffee’ I realized my meeting with the Community Worker was overrated.
The worker wouldn’t tell me what was required or expected of Aerograffix. There was no mention of where any of the projects would happen, or even if a mural would be created. When I specifically asked what services we would be required to deliver, I wasn’t given a straight answer. I was told, we would have to go to community meetings. Fair enough, given that it is a community project, it’s only fair that the community decides on what would be most suitable. I told the Community Worker that myself and Christian would be willing to go to meetings, but, since we operate as a business, we would have to act as one and therefore, charge for any further services provided. I said we were more than willing to come to the table, we just needed something on the table to come for, so to speak. It was clear, the Community Worker wanted someone to work for free. Again, fair enough if someone is starting their career or when budgets are tight, but I did a little digging. It turns out this is a part of a $150,000 project in Brisbane, which was given out of a 3 million dollar fund from the Federal Government. If a project is to attract industry professionals, then it is necessary to have the right funding to do so.
A few days later, I received an email, informing us at Aerograffix that the Durack Guides Hall was going to be re-painted as a part of the Walls and Colours project, as it required rebranding. This is the same Durack Guides Hall which Christian painted in March 2007 which required very little maintenance and was a successful project. In the same email, I was informed that Christian could not be paid if he wanted to be involved in the rebranding and repainting process.
Sure, I understand budgets are tight, and I completely understand that Aerograffix doesn’t need to be involved with every mural project in Brisbane, but…
How is it ‘in the sprit of community’ to paint over one mural with another? And why call us out to a meeting, not telling us any information about some ephemeral community project for which there apparently is no budget for?
Long story short, this is another example of BCC completely missing the mark with graffiti prevention and working with industry professionals.
We’re not happy with this, and we’ve voiced our concerns. Feel free to voice your concerns too.
Below are pictures of the existing murals which were completed in 2007.
We’ve had plenty of personal support, and kind words from mates, family and friends, but that doesn’t stop the mismanagement of funds. We’ve also had a few quiet words with other people and nothing seems to be balancing.
Aerograffix has since been contacted by IYS (Inala Youth Service) as they wish to use Aerograffix for the ‘rebranding’ of the Durack Guides hut. We’ve followed this up and offered to paint this wall for free, however this has been rejected as the site is reserved for the Walls and Colours project. We were informed by the Community Worker from Visible Ink, the only way Aerograffix could be involved with this site would be as a participant in the workshops. Which, as a professional artist, is nothing short of insulting.
At one stage, Visible Ink, had pictures of the existing mural on their website which were uncredited, which is just a blatent breach of copywright. They have since removed all but one image, which still goes uncredited.
Most importantly, we find it bizarre that out of ten murals (Specifically, one site which Christian has painted previously) which were suposedly a part of a $150,000 project, Aerograffix would be systematically excluded.
In light of recent events, we thought a follow up including email correspondences.
Thanks for meeting me last week. Throughout the meeting it seemed like we work differently and have different requirements which at this stage makes me inclined to continue working with the Brisbane artists who have a similar approach to my own.
I would also like to inform you that the project aerograffix did with the Durack Guides in DJ Sherrington park in Inala will need to be replaced. The Hut has changed lease owners and therefore it can no longer be called “Durack Guides.” Unfortunately, we will be painting over that mural.
I wish you all the best with your future endeavours!
Hi Ainslie and Christian
Thanks for your email. I acknowledge from our conversations that Christian is a professional artists with extensive experience in painting murals.
Because of the objectives and outcomes of the project, I do require a community development approach to the work. This means that I do not know what the project would look like or what my requirements or expectations from Christian would be. From a community development approach the local community partners would make the decisions around the structure and approach taken towards the project. Therefore I do not know what my expectations from Christian would be. This is decided in partnership with everyone. The artist is viewed as 1 of these partners and would need to understand that “working together” approach, which require extensive flexibility and respect.
The Durack Guide Hut belongs to Brisbane City Council and like I explained the lease arrangements has changed with Inala Youth Service and the local youth service network GYPSES taking over the lease. Repainting and re-branding the hut is part of the process for the local young people to create ownership over the space. I plan to work with local artists, local young people and the local community to develop the process and outcome for this. If Christian is interested to be part of the conversation he is welcome, however it is a community development approach and I would want to ensure enough conversations take place to create a shared value base to ensure we work in unity with the community. Unfortunately I can’t pay Christian for this time.
Again, thanks for your time and I would like to apologise for the accident on the Pacific Highway that made me run late.