Brisbane Airport BNE Issue 4 - page 12

FEATURE
12
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BNE August/September 2014
T
ravis Vinson turns up a little tired to our interview and who can
blame him. He’s been painting all day and night until 5am for the
last two days working on a mural for a gym in Brisbane’s northern
suburbs and he’s writing quotes for more jobs at the rate of about three a
day. You could say business is booming. But Vinson is not just any
old painter. He’s also known as Drapl, one of Brisbane’ most
sought after ‘legal’ graffiti artists.
Like many of the city’s lead generation graffiti
artists, Drapl has had his scrapes with the law in the
past but now he’s turned his energy and talent into
a very successful business with mate Cameron
Mack, called Graffiti Murals. Drapl estimates
that since the pair launched their website 18
months ago he’s done about 1000 jobs, painting
murals on everything from building walls to
skate parks, inside gyms, even kids bedrooms.
He’s painted shipping containers (at the Eat Street
Markets at Portside, Hamilton) and he’s painted
walls and stages at music festivals as far away as
Copenhagen.
Even as we speak, at the Battery Station café and bar in
Fortitude Valley (the site of one of Drapl’s most recent projects), a fan
approaches, telling me what a “wonderful artist” Drapl is, then he goes on
to invite him to paint the side of a building. The fan just happens to be
Valley identity and local businessman Monty, of Monty’s Pawnbrokers,
and the building is one he owns on the busy thoroughfare of Wickham
There’s a genre of art that has come out of hiding and is finally earning the
recognition it deserves, writes
Heather McWhinnie
Street. Drapl is suddenly wide awake and out of his chair, a spark has been
ignited, arrangements are made. When he sits back down he is buzzing
with ideas for what he’d like to do on Monty’s building.
It’s an indication of just how far graffiti, or ‘street art’ as it’s often called,
has come. The artists who once jumped fences and worked in the
shadows are now in demand around the world. They’re
scaling walls, but in broad daylight, creating sky-high
works of art and getting paid for it. Street art is going
mainstream.
When Brisbane’s newest boutique hotel opens
in September on Constance Street in the Valley, it
will showcase one of the biggest street art projects
in the city, if not the country, and one of its dark
secrets will be revealed. For years the building
has been a popular playground for graffiti artists
to practise their craft and now new owner Jay
McPhee and his architect Shane Denman are
turning that into a creative point of difference for
their new hotel, the first of the hipster Tryp branded
hotels to be opened in Australia. Not only are they
working to preserve some of the art found in the building but
they also have commissioned a team of graffiti artists to create new works
of art to adorn the building inside and out. Four artists, including one of
Brisbane’s expatriate talents, Fintan Magee, are each being given a floor to
work on and paint in their own unique style. Magee grew up in Brisbane
but now travels the world to paint and his work can be seen on city walls
Street art out of the shadows
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