Translation required

09lSEP29-cP1070014 AntCrownI figured this sign was not meant for me. Some private joke or invitation, but still I was intrigued. Sat 1st? Yes, I got that – the previous Saturday was August 1st. Queen Street? King Street? Crown Street? No streets of that name anywhere near this spot, the corner of Ross and Hereford Streets, Forest Lodge (Glebe). And as for the upbeat insect?  No idea.

 

A month later I found an answer of sorts in Cleveland Street, Surry Hills, some three or four kilometres away. A notice chalked in the same hand for Surry Hills Markets, always held in Crown Street on the first Saturday of the month. So the notice in Glebe was meant for me … and everyone else. But I still don’t get the ant.

09lSEP29-cP1070113 CrownStMkt

Olympic Games souvenirs

07bMAR18-cP1010506 MarathSydHbrBr1The blue ribbon event of the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games was the marathon, whose 42 km route wound past Sydney’s most recognizable icons and through some of its most telegenic suburbs. A few sections of the blue marathon line have been left in place around Sydney, but only where they do not constitute a traffic hazard.

The line was removed from Sydney Harbour Bridge fairly soon after the event, but there are still remnants in several places. Traces of blue are visible on a lane line towards the southern (tollgate) end and also on a large number 3 underneath the arch. I took these photographs early in the morning on 18 March 2007, when people were allowed to walk over the Bridge to celebrate its 75th anniversary.

07bMAR18-cP1010459 MarathSydHbrBr2

Goats

06cAPR18-cP1000935 GoatStartAfter the crowds have cleared the traces remain. The numbers on the road mark the starting line for the annual Great Goat Race in the main street of Lightning Ridge, NSW. The photograph was taken the day after, on Easter Sunday 2006.

The marked starting boxes are the only orderly thing about the event. With kids as jockeys and goats having minds of their own, the races are chaotic, smelly and funny.06cAPR18-cP1000849 GoatCart

Lu Xun Park (Guest spot)

Today’s guest spotter is Jeff Stewart – author, artist and sometime bread-seller at his local Sunday market

DSCN1451 JS outlineI love Lu Xun Park. It’s in Hongkou, Shanghai, and is my most favourite place on earth at the moment. Everything happens here – there is dance, tai chi, singing, talking, and sitting. Lovely, to me, and I can’t even speak Chinese.

People also write on the footpath there in water or chalk. They often write poetry, advertise their calligraphy skills, or quote common Chinese sayings. In the first photograph the man is writing characters in outline, which is very difficult.

writing JS colourblurSometimes migrant workers write their story on the ground asking for help. They come to the city from rural areas and often have trouble finding work. The second photograph was taken after rain had blurred a woman’s story about her current living situation.

Jeff’s  photograph of a man writing on the pavement in water accompanies his journal entry Translating Lu Xun Park on the  Kai Xin (Happy Heart)website

No war

05eDEC14-cP1000553 NoWar blogAt Federation Square in Melbourne Nearamnew is a public artwork that incorporates the cobblestone paving. According to the Federation Square website, it is a vast paving design with poetic text inscriptions where fragmented voices of historical and fictional characters can be deciphered in nine locations around the site.

In 2005 I found that a contemporary character had added an inscription to another location on the cobbles. I don’t know how long it had been there. Australia joined the war in Iraq in 2003.

Tomb darers

09hmay27-cp1060557-wfreewaytagtombSome people take huge risks to put their tags up (or, in this case, down). And some people also take big risks to get a photo. These two examples are on the Warringah Freeway near Naremburn. It’s late afternoon and most of the traffic is heading north away from the city. But in the mornings the volume of traffic over these tags is enormous. So they have an audience of thousands – if anyone actually notices them. What’s amazing is how long they’ve lasted without being worn away. The photograph was taken in May and they are still there three months later.09hmay27-cp1060585-wfreewaytag

 

Neural pathway (Guest spot)

Canberra writer Doug Fry is Pavement Graffiti’s inaugural guest spotter.

dsc00350-df-resize-blogApart from a failed first year university class (and my weekly trash TV fix of Bones) I don’t really have any experience in the field of psychology, so I’m only making a vaguely educated guess when I say that the author/illustrator of this work is probably a paranoid schizophrenic.

The author/illustrator is a gentleman who appears to be in his early 40s, and his chaotic ‘thought pattern’-type works can occasionally be spotted on public surfaces – bus shelters, powerline poles, shopping centre walls – around the inner southern suburbs of Canberra. This particular work was done on the footpath along Macgregor Street in Deakin, not far from the local shopping centre. dsc00348-df-resize-blog

I passed the gentleman in the middle of sketching this particular ‘thought pattern’ during a stroll to fetch some groceries in December 2008. On my way home, he was sitting on a nearby bench, his work complete, so I stopped to chat with him – unsuccessfully. The gentleman immediately grew suspicious of my attention, muttered a few words, and then walked off in a hurry, leaving the mystery of his works intact.  

Old bicycle

09ijun19-cp1060741-erskbike-blogI love the pitted texture of this old bicycle symbol. It’s on a shared footpath (footpath?) near Erskineville Station. In the foreground of the wider shot there is a tag – or maybe it’s just a spill.

An account of the battle between cyclists, pedestrians and motorists is written on the pavement in pictograms. I will be having more to say about this in future blogs.09ijun19-cp1060740-erskbikeped-blog

Take your pick

09jjul03-cp1060788-juststanstn-blogThe dance party stencils are getting bigger and bolder. Around the middle of June ads for JUST? at Club 77 were sprayed all over inner-west pavements. Those in the know know where Club 77 is.

Within a few days, Skiver TEK had obliterated the JUST? plectrum at Stanmore Station with their own stencil. I guess they had their reasons. But there are still plenty of those big JUST? stencils around.09jjul03-cp1060807-skiverstanstn

Arrows

 

09jjul03-cp1060801-walkers-blog4Arrow chases are the urban version of Hare and Hounds. Kids chalk arrows on the pavement instead of leaving paper trails, and Hash House Harrier clubs sometimes write esoteric instructions beside their arrows. I spotted the ‘Walkers’ arrow near Stanmore Station.

AF remembers being on a run with his club some years ago in Melbourne when the arrows petered out near a tram stop. Not knowing what else to do the group of sweaty runners got onto the next tram that came along and rode to the end of the line. There they found that the arrow trail had resumed with the instruction ‘ON ON’.

 

Arrow chases probably explain many of the chalk arrows you see in the streets, but others are written on the pavement for the benefit of strollers and shoppers, pointing the way to shops, markets and garage sales. These arrows come in all sizes with all kinds of text and embellishment. The ‘Psst – garage sale’ arrow and a set of others like it were in King Street, South Newtown, last year.

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