The opening of Melbourne street artist Rone’s exhibition, Empty, in Fitzroy. (Supplied: Sophie Argiriou)
by Julia Baird
For the artistically stunted among us, the idea of labouring intensely on murals while perched on ladders, cranes and cherry pickers for days or weeks, only to have our beautiful images tagged with graffiti or smashed to rubble, is a profoundly depressing one.
But for street artists, it’s a singular thrill. Temporariness is part of the game.
When I stand in an empty old movie theatre, the Star Lyric in Melbourne’s Fitzroy, looking at an enormous, delicately drawn female face, two storeys high, the thought that it will amount to a painted pile of rocks in a few days is difficult to stomach.
But the artist, Rone, created it knowing that the building would be destroyed by developers shortly after his current exhibition, Empty, closes.
A painting of a woman dominates a wall in an empty old movie theatre as light pours through round windows.
Portraits of beautiful women shine in Rone’s exhibition in Melbourne.
A finite lifespan, he says, is what makes street art singular: it blooms suddenly, then is exposed to the elements.
“The temporariness is what makes it contemporary, of the moment, and more important or special,” he says.“When someone paints something on the street it won’t be protected, anyone can come with spray paint and draw a dick on it, and destroy it — but you walk away, there’s not much you can do about it.”