How it started
The Bondi Beach Graffiti Wall started life as a place where young Bondi kids – caught up in the graffiti craze that was sweeping the globe in the late 70s and early 80s – were experimenting with spray art.
As the wall wasn’t a legal wall, this resulted in the typical cat-and-mouse game between local police and the kids – until in the late 80s the proposal was put forward by local youth group leaders to turn the wall into a community wall and to work with WAYS to channel the work of budding young artists.
Established graffiti artists learned to control a spray can – and they taught budding street artists how to do it – in this way, artists like Droogie taught (then) young artists like Teazer the basic skills.
It is reported that the annual graffiti removal was costing Waverley Council $400,000 a year before the legalisation of the wall – and only $60,000 a year afterwards.
A move to Murals
About a decade ago, the council stepped in and started allocating spaces based on applications. They attempted to award places to artists based on merit – but also based on community involvement.
The advent of Instagram has spurred a shift from traditional detailed graffiti to brush-painted murals with words or phrases that fans love posing in front of. This, along with an increasing number of stencil pieces, has marked a shift away from pure graffiti to a broader range of styles – although this move has not been popular with traditional graffiti artists.
Twice a year – organisation
At the end of 2016, the council (as a result of being inundated with applications and the continual effort of reviewing) changed their policy of how to ‘curate’ the wall. Now applications are open until two dates – six months apart – for painting in the January-onwards and July-onwards periods.