GUEST BLOGGER: TIMBA SMITS (woodentoyquarterly.com)

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DON’T BAN THE CAN – MELBOURNE SEPTEMBER 2009.

On Saturday 12th September, Melbourne folk witnessed a flock of artists descend on it’s infamous Croft Alley like crows from director Alfred Hitchcocks film “The birds”. Only these birds weren’t pecking our eyeballs out and they weren’t actually birds, in fact… this has absolutely nothing to do with that film at all. What it was in fact was the DONT BAN THE CAN project (DBTC): a non-profit arts and culture movement aimed towards the harsh, unjust anti graffiti laws imposed on Victoria, Australia. It’s director: Jeremy Gaschk. Location: Melbourne

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Created by and for artists, DBTC is all about sticking it to the man and proving that street art in Melbourne is a highly valuable asset to the city and an extremely important element to it’s DNA attracting tens of thousands of visitors each year. Launched in September 2008 by Gaschk, the initial DBTC event became instantly famous winning friends throughout Australia and influencing folk from all over the worldiverse in support against the backlash towards Melbourne’s most evolving artform from the powers that be.

Back again by popular demand in 2009 and DBTC was blessed with some clear blue sky and 30 plus weather well into the night. Some would call that perfect shooting weather…? Lens cap off! Clicky clicky! Looking around and pretty much all the usual suspects had come out to play, some in shorts and thongs even (whoops… flipflops!), which is craaaazy seeing it’s only 2 weeks into spring. Overall the perfect painting weather helped turn this event into a variable who’s who of the Australian street art scene. Shit, if you could have a red carpet event for street art, this would’ve been it. Only thing is, you wouldn’t dare bring red carpet into Croft Alley… ha.

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Arriving at around midday i instantly thought to myself, why the fuck would people want to ban this shit? I mean… what a sight! and the smell…. ahhhh! like a kid in a candy shop. People were everywhere with crew painting, people watching the crew paint and people taking photos of people watching the crew paint. And within 6 hours after dropping in what was once the stinkiest, dirtiest and most filth ridden Melbourne alleyway was transformed into a world-class, large-scale, urban masterpiece pretty much by Sundown. With over 30 participating artists including some notable works by the Everfresh crew, Deb, Poise, Twoone, Drewfunk, AWOL crew, Peach, and Ethics it was time to wet my burning retinas in beer with a few mates who’d clearly earn’t a few pints! So it was off to the pot-of-gold at the end of the rainbow… The Croft Institute, where the vibe was high and the culture was flowin’. This was one of those days that you could feel had made a differnce. DBTC 4eva!

This project is one of many initiatives the DBTC team are currently undertaking, including a pioneering month long urban arts and culture festival in January 2010. www.dontbanthecan.com

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Words by Timba. Photos by Timba and Jay Chapman