First Coat is a wonder, a wonder in a Queensland country town. International, national and local graffiti artists painting on walls in lane-ways and on walls once the oeuvre of carefully constructed family conversations and the latest beef price woes was a tide turner. The vibe this last weekend was distinctly upbeat and almost unbelievable. That aerosol was being applied on and around old red brick and federation style buildings, up the back of an Irish pub or on an aging corrugated iron shed all within 20 minutes walk of each other blew me away. It was installation of mammoth and intensely impressive proportions all ticked off and supported by the shire council and Queensland Police Service’s “Graffiti-stop“. This was not an obvious clamp down but a new direction, a ride on another train in another direction and no-one had any sense of ambush or anxiety. The sense of camaraderie was palpable and the final legacy of such an amazing installation – led by the indefatigable Grace Dewar from the local Ironlak outlet “Kontraband” – has set a mark on the wall that feels almost out of reach for me in Brisbane even when we [Jugglers] have been making some positive advances in collaboration with Brisbane City Council and QR over the past few years.
Where it all leads is obvious to the astute. Street art is the thing now and everyone wants some and wants to do a bit. Pay or not pay, that is the question. Here or there, that is the other question. And who to get is another one. When you get a job done to make it look like you are cool and in touch with the latest – “we want Brisbane to look like Melbourne, we want our Hosier lane ” – then you are still in prep school. But I am sure that it will all work and Brisbane might follow Toowoomba as it tries to follow Melbourne. But they need their astute advisors and people who have been on the ground and think with their bodies and their souls not their heads and their egos and their politics. If they do they will make marks with their mark making. Viva la revolution!