With the Tocumwal Lane pARTy only days away, with a massive event featuring DJs asnd street art with food and drinks supplied by London Burgers and Beers and Beach Brurritos. OutInCanberra caught up Geoff Filmer and Byrd – two legends in the Canberra street art and co-partners in Graffik Paint – to talk through what’s happening on Sunday and the culture of the local scene.

Geoff is clearly excited at the prospect of getting into Tocumwal Lane for this project.

Basically, I’ve always wanted to paint the alleyway (Tocumwal Lane). When Canberra CBD Ltd contacted us, I thought, “Hey, why don’t we grab a whole bunch of people and turn this into a party?”

So we started working through the Canberra crew to see who we could get involved. There’s so many coming down! At the moment we’ve confirmed Byrd, Stylized Impact, Geoff Filmer, Attune, George Rose, Faith, Soul, Bugz, Houl, JRB, and Sprinkles is coming down from Sydney. There’s more, but we’re still putting names on the list.

With the idea planted, it looks like The Tocumwal Lane pARTy is more than something that is just happening on one day – the space is effectively going to become a gallery for some of Canberra’s best street artists.

What’s cool about this project is that each of the artists has nominated their favourite characters to paint. Geoff explains further:

It’s so exciting is that each of the artists is going to bring their own style to the pieces. Most of the characters will be easily recognised, but if you know your street artists, you’ll also know which one they painted.

It’s great to get into the point where street art has got to a point where there are enough painters in Canberra that are off a level that can pull off a piece like this. Byrd and Attune did a lot of the scene’s early development, and they’ve really helped to mature the art community. Really importantly, they brought the broader community along with them.

Byrd has been a part of the Canberra street scene since it started, and has watched it grow and evolve over the years. His partnership with Geoff in Graffik Paint has been a big part of this.

Now, with Graffik Paint, we’ve got a fantastic way to work with government and keep this style as a legitimate art-form that’s important to the city’s culture. There’s actually a graffiti co-ordinator within the ACT Government now, which is amazing considering where we were twenty years ago.

The scene is really respectful as well. New artists in Canberra these days eventually recognise the rules of painting on the streets. It doesn’t always happen as quickly as we might like, but it eventually happens. If they’re really interested in the history of the scene – and Canberra’s scene has a great history – then they’re more likely to be respectful.

The important thing is that if everyone keeps to the game and resists being a pest, the whole of Canberra will continue to support great street art.

The Tocumwal Lane Party is a celebration of this evolution. Twenty years of local history will be put up on the various walls in a fun mural that will almost entirely wrap around the viewer.

The final word from Byrd:

I’m really excited about heading down on Sunday. It’s a really difficult space to paint. If one person tried to do it, I’m not sure it would work given the entire infrastructure – the air conditioning, the pipes and stuff. By breaking it up into smaller parts and working with multiple artists the effect should be fantastic.

To be honest, we can’t wait.


Click here to read more about Tocumwal Lane pARTy, and click here to see a full detail of the work to date.