Words by Carlie Tucker
If your business travel takes you to Brisbane for a day or two, and you're looking for a fun activity that's easily accomplished whenever a spare moment presents itself, keep your eyes peeled for the city's street art. This form of expression may not be quite as prolific as it is for our neighbours in Melbourne, but the city is increasingly seeing colourful murals pop up in unexpected places. So much so, that a quick stroll before, during or after work can be surprisingly rewarding.
In The City
If you look closely, Brisbane's CBD offers up a pretty diverse selection of street art scenes. Whether it's a cheeky stencil offering an inspirational message or a massive mural cleverly hidden in plain sight, it's easy to get an eyeful simply by walking to work.
Perhaps one of the most popular spots for street artists in the city is Burnett Lane (near Queen Street). There are plenty of murals across the exterior walls, but don't forget to check out the inside of some of the establishments that call this lane home. For example, Brew offers great food and drink as well as striking interior murals.
If you're looking to spot the works of a more notable name, check out the underpass at Creek and Ann Street (pictured) for a massive mural by Mik Shida.
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Fortitude Valley and Surrounds
Street art and the Valley go hand in hand so it's no surprise that there are plenty of spots to check out if you're on foot. This urban colour even extends well into the surrounding suburbs of New Farm and Newstead. What's better is there are plenty of great restaurants and pubs to grab a bite, so a lunchtime stroll pays off twofold.
One of the best spots to start is James Street. Just between Wheel and Barrow and the James Street Market, a wall with multiple artists's work offers up some colourful creations. Venture a bit further down to Jamie's Espresso at the corner of James and Robinson for yet another mural masterpiece by Mik Shinda. Or get to the heart of the Valley at Coniston Lane for a wall covered with artworks behind The Family nightclub. Even the Tryp hotel (pictured) has gotten onboard with this funky form of art, with large scale murals all over the building and in the rooms.
Further into New Farm, the Brisbane Powerhouse is yet another hotspot for artists, both inside and out. Multiple artists have left their impressions on the exterior walls, but if you have time, there are free exhibitions to walk through across the ground floor. Image courtesy of trypbrisbane.com
Paddington and Surrounds
Should you find yourself in Brisbane's inner west, the likes of Paddington, Red Hill and Milton are ripe with art-spotting opportunities. Naturally a great place to start all inner west adventures, Caxton Street is good for lunch, dinner and drinks as well as street art. Check out Cartel Bar's wall on the corner of Weetman and Caxton for more work by Mik Shida, or head to Given Terrace where artist Tomsen has coloured a side of the Retro Metro.
Moving into Milton, Milton Road features a prominent piece by both Lister and Sofles, a portion of which is pictured above. Even if you're limited to public transport, Platform 1 of the Milton train station has been done up by Twolaks, while walls surrounding the station showcase works by Dan Brok and Mik Shida.
West End and South Brisbane
Business travellers staying south of the river should look to West End and South Brisbane. Not only are these two hotspots humming with a great blend of hotels, restaurants and nightlife, but there are several spaces that showcase some pretty fantastic street art as well.
One of the largest scale projects in the city is the Pillars Project, which commenced in 2014. On the corner of Merivale Street and Montague Road, the pillars of the rail overpass have been painted by several big-name artists. This includes Mik Shida, Drapl, Fintan Magee, Simon Degroot, Gimiks Born and more.
And West End is no slouch when it comes to urban colour. There are multiple streets offering up works by multiple artists. Vulture Street, near Box Vintage, features works by Mik Shida and Andy Harwood. Or hit up Exeter Street, Cambridge Street, Princhester Street and Thomas Street for even more works by multiple artists.