- Words & Photos by John Domine
On the Road: Brisbane, Australia
If you are planning a trip to Australia, Brisbane may not necessarily have been at the top of that list as far as cities to hit for your Down Under experience. But, if you have any interest in street art, you may just want to reconsider including it in your itinerary. After all, Anthony Lister once called this Queensland capital his home, which is evident by some of his works still gracing this riverside metropolis, and artists the world over are painting in their annual festival. If that's not enough to get your blood pumping, Brisbane has a wealth of activities and daytrips that will surely charm even the most cynical of the bunch.
Anthony Lister's Kangaroos near Queensland University of Technology
With regard to the outdoor art scene, Brisbane has a couple noteworthy happenings you should be sure to visit while in town: The Pillars Project and the Brisbane Street Art Festival.
The Pillars Project, which began in 2014 with 8 pieces painted its inaugural year, is an outdoor art gallery with large-scale murals, located on the supporting pillars of the Go Between Bridge in South Brisbane. Adding another pillar each year since, there is quite a bit of talent to be witnessed, with works by Rone, Matt Adnate, Guido Van Helten, Mik Shida, Gimiks Born, Drapl, and Fintan Magee to name a few.
Work by Rone for the Pillars Project (above) and other artists (below)
In addition to The Pillars Project, Brisbane also boasts an annual affair called the Brisbane Street Art Festival (BSAF). According to the organizers, "the Brisbane Street Art Festival hopes to give Brisbane an opportunity to witness firsthand how artists approach, engage with and create their art." The BSAF has been held annually since 2016, and this past March they painted over 55 murals across the city, inviting talented artists worldwide. Some of those involved in this year's event include Kenji Chai (Malaysia), Cezary Stulgis (Poland/Australia), Gris One (Colombia), Sofles (Brisbane), Said Dokins (Mexico), Claire Matthews(England), Gus Eagleton (Australia), Tuyuloveme (Indonesia), Benjamin Reeve (Australia), and Rosie Woods (England) among others.
Aside from these organized events, there is a lot of other talent to be discovered on the streets of "Briz Vegas". With works by Fintan Magee, Anthony Lister, Drapl, Sofles, Rone, Gimiks Born, and Mouf, you are sure to discover something to bring a smile to your face as you cruise the streets of West End or Fortitude Valley, two of Brisbane's neighborhoods with a large concentration of colorful walls, not to mention an abundance of pubs and eateries to calm the beast as you hunt for art.
And if you are looking for a great spot to eat after a day of mural hunting in a less art-heavy neighborhood, head to Beccofino in upscale Tenerife for some delicious Italian fare. (You've never had calamari until you've tasted it here!) If you are looking for pizza, you can't go wrong with the Tartufo with smoked bacon, portobello mushrooms, truffle paste and stracchino! Buon appetito! Wash it down with a negroni while dining al fresco and you may as well be in Florence (if it weren't for the kookaburras laughing in the trees above).
If you are looking to take a day trip, it is easy enough to use public transportation to get to the beaches of the Gold or Sunshine Coasts. Or, just board the ferry which will take you to the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary, where you can see (and even hold) some of Australia's cutest marsupials and other wildlife. And if horticulture is your thing, take a bus to Mt. Coot-tha Botanic Gardens for some flowers with a view! The world is your oyster in Brisbane.
Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary
Gold Coast (Surfer's Paradise)
Mt. Coot-tha Botanic Gardens
With so much beauty on offer, what are you waiting for? Brisbane is calling!
*Much thanks to Kim & Paul Alexander (and their guard dog, Brandy) for their hospitality during my time in Brisbane! It is always a special treat to see a city through the eyes of the locals.