Starland Video owner James McKibbin has opened the side of his building to street artists after hearing a graffitist was gaoled for painting the side of a train.
And he says artists are lining up to take advantage of the offer.
Some time ago he’d asked George Howlett to work on the lobby of the Beaconsfield store when, “he disappeared off the face of the planet”. “So I rang his mum, and she said he’d been busted for doing some graffiti and he was in the slammer.
“He was sentenced to six months or something and the whole process cost $125,00 to keep him in prison and $500 to clean up the paint. I thought, ‘this is just stupid’.
“I decided there has to be a way to help street artists get recognised in the community.”
When Mr Howlett came out of the clink, Mr McKibbin asked him to paint the west side of the building, facing South Street as you head out of Freo, “as a sort of business card”.
“And on the inside we will sell his work for free without any commission. We can act as a gallery.”
Mr McKibbin plans to rotate the wall art every eight weeks to give other artists a chance to show their work.
“I realised that so many customers that come to Starland are artists who have said ‘I’ll have a crack at that’. So, hopefully now they will get the recognition and money.”
Mr Howlett—he did three months behind bars—reckons the idea is great.
“It gives people a chance to do it legally and get their work out there.”
by BRENDAN FOSTER