Underpass Art

Cultural Centre underpass – June Perkins

One of the things I love about cities is discovering the art in the underpasses and on the railway stop walls.  Some of these art works are commissioned creations; others are layers put over already existing art and blank walls by underground artists.

During the lead up to hosting the G20, the city concerned about how the world might see us, made an effort to add to and raise the quality of the underpass creations; while headlines proclaimed the blandness of much of the existing street art.

I still have to make it to some of that new art created, but for now I am noticing street art whenever I pass by it with my trusty camera phone.

Street Art doesn’t always last for long so I could make this a long term photography project and visit some of these spots again in three years or so and see if they have been painted over with new designs.

I definitely better make it to the Merivale Street Creations – for a follow up post; these ones are probably going to last about eight years and they look stunning in all the online documentary photos I have seen of them.

Perhaps in this journey I may meet some of the people who create these works or even happen upon the creation of one in progress; that’d be brilliant and something I’d love to film, although I think I’d be going for the legal projects for all sorts of reasons.

For more see The Pillars Project. 

(c) June Perkins

Journey Planning

Living in  Brisbane is enhanced by knowing how handle public transport, but in the Cassowary Coast there isn’t any to handle so I am seriously rusty about how to do it.  So settling in well has meant rediscovering how to navigate it.

The internet makes it relatively easy to journey plan your trip by rail, bus, ferry and walking. You go to this site Journey Planner and plug in where you are and where you want to end up and it gives a number of options to consider and maps for any parts you have to walk as well as the cost (travelling in off peak times is cheaper.)  You can even go to google earth and prewalk the area.

There are lighted scrolling signs, labelled platforms, timetables at bus stops,  and audio announcements to further help you in your journey, as well as some kindly Brisbanites who don’t mind answering questions.

The next key to public transport in Brisbane is the Gocard, and knowing how to swipe it at the railway station and on the buses.  I’ve learnt that you need to swipe on at the start of the journey before you get on the train and as you leave the station, you must swipe in and out of all transport as this calculates your cost for the journey!

Another cool thing is that when you have your gocard you can top it up and protect your balance by registering your card, but don’t forget to write down the number on the back of your card in case you lose it.  I thought I’d lost mine, and went to shift my balance to another card, and realised I didn’t have the number written down anywhere!Luckily I found it or as well as my deposit for the go card I would have lost my travel balance.

The other day I made an honest mistake and thought I had to swipe on when I was on the train because I had done that when getting on the bus.  Eeks.  The station master was lovely and said, ‘not to worry, you can’t do much about it now, just swipe on the next piece of transport you get on, but don’t swipe off when you leave the station today or your journey will be out of wack.’  So we did and that was all cool.

I reckon it is good to take a gocard pro with you (not always possible) and ask specific questions at the ticket stations (which are not open on the weekends in some of the smaller stations because there are gocard and ticket machines everywhere not actual people.)

One thing enjoyable about a new city is finding new things to photograph.  In Brisbane there are leafy suburbs and then there are more industrial ones. We went to Milton and if I was writing that into a novel I’d add to my writer’s notes that it  should smell of the Castlemaine Brewery.

Many of the stations have a mural which you can look at as you stop and pass the stations.

I have been on the lookout for painted traffic signal boxes on every trip.  Walking Brisbane makes it easier to take a photo, than take one from a moving car whilst your partner is driving.

So there you have it some simple tips to using public transport. My next adapting- to- new- home- project, is to navigate the interesting cultural and arts groups and find some to join as well as exploring more of the diversity of  Brisbane.  I am on a bit of a budget until I find some bread and butter work, so can’t really head off everyday, but can make the most of each trip I am able to do, and each group I am interested to connect with.

The great thing about mastering navigating the  public transport is it will help my confidence in job searching, as it will be a while before we can afford to run a second car.


(c) June Perkins

Art singing and dancing in the Streets

2014-05-07 2014-05-10 001 008
June Perkins – photograph of power box Brisbane

Art in the city, not shut away in galleries, but everywhere you look.
It’s on power boxes, telegraph poles, railway station walls.
climbs onto walls and alleyways.
chalked, painted, sprayed, and poster papered.

It’s murals with messages from Martin Luther King
everytime I used to catch the bus in Marrickville
I’d see his face with an Aboriginal flag behind it.

It’s pieces that make you think, smile, wonder remember nature.
Driving past telegraph poles to the Gold Coast
we catch nature wrapping itself around telegraph poles,
birds and trees just in case we don’t see the real
they’re there in art.
I would love to go back and photograph these artistic poles.

I think of the artists commissioned or perhaps underground ones.
What are their names?
Are their signatures there?
Is there a guidebook somewhere to tell me the story of the street art?

This street art tells stories – it’s symbolic and straightforward
it’s naive and surreal.
It doesn’t advertise, it’s an invitation to think, as diverse as the artists in the city.

And when street artists paint, what is going through their minds about the setting
their work will live in everyday.
Do they look at the trees, and the walls and reflect what is there
Or do they represent a dreaming beyond walls beyond the boundaries
of the city and the forest ?

I want to write a spoken word poem all about the street singing forart
and the art calling out on the street,
maybe it would be be performed by a pied poet walking the street with a busking guitar
with people flash mob dancing in the streets?

(c) June Perkins


Image Credit Alex Aboud, Creative commons some rights reserved.

Alex Aboud, Creative commons some rights reserved.