A CONTROVERSIAL street artist has raised the ire of Melburnians after he painted one of the city's iconic laneways completely blue.
Street artist Adrian Doyle painted Rutledge Lane, which connects to the jewel in Melbourne's street art crown, Hosier Lane, with a blockout of baby-blue paint, destroying every piece of artwork in the colourful lane.
The project was done through RMIT with Council funding, Lord Mayor Robert Doyle confirmed this afternoon that he was informed of the project, an attempt to breathe new life into the heavily graffitied precinct.
The Lord Mayor ruled out nearby Hosier Lane getting the same treatment as the art work there was 'ephemeral' and worth saving.
"He has given us a blank canvas in Rutledge Lane, what we've asked the street art community to do is to look at Rutledge Lane as almost an experimental lane," Cr Doyle said.
"The nature of that street is that it is going to be messy, if you've been there before. Let me tell you this makes a world of difference, it is going to be messy because of the number of artists, the variety of work, it's just going to be like that," he said.
The lord Mayor said he hoped the blank canvas would attract new work of higher value to the area.
The artist has drawn intense hatred online, with critics saying he has ruined one of the city's most loved attractions.
Lord Mayor Robert Doyle recently launched a campaign against taggers who are destroying the "real" art in Hosier Lane.
Adrian Doyle told street art blog Invurt he painted over the other art to bring more attention the scene.
"By doing this, I am claiming that a colour in its pure form can be street art or graffiti. This is a great conceptual link from fine art to street art, a link that is often lacking in the Melbourne street art scene. By bridging this gap, I hope to expose more people not only to street art, but also to the importance of art in general," he said.
Street art blogger Dean Sunshine said Mr Doyle had been coping serious flak from irate detractors.
"People are divided, it's a ballsy thing that he's done. I take my hat off to him for doing it but at the same time I see it being disrespectful to the existing work and artists he painted over. People have said this is the worst thing they have ever seen, but it is a blank canvas now and fresh art has already popped up in the lane overnight.," Mr Sunshine said.
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