Female street artists paint a path to equality

Melbourne-based American street artist Elle with her artwork at the festival. All pictures: Charlotte Morton


Female street artists dominated Benalla’s Wall to Wall Festival this year, signifying the first year the festival has had an equal number of male and female artists.

Running over the long weekend, the festival saw the creation of more than 60 public street artworks by Australia’s leading street artists, including local emerging artists and famed international artists.

Georgia Hill painting her piece.

Young Australian artist Georgia Hill said she was proud to be a part of the street art community because “it’s more about your work than your gender”.

“No one deliberately tries to divide it, and everyone is very supportive,” she said. However, “it’s just like every industry worldwide, where there’s always a bit more that could happen”.

She said it was important to give small-town youth access to “different forms of creativity” and to “start these conversations that people aren’t having otherwise”.

Her distinctive black and white work was inspired by the offcuts of a collage she made out of architectural and environmental photographs. Originally from Newcastle, she is now based in Sydney where she is exploring her creativity through illustration and large-scale murals.

“Now it’s really interesting … I make studio work and that informs the large-scale pieces, and those larger pieces inform the concept of the studio work, and it’s this nice kind of back and forth,” she said.

In a press release, Benalla Rural City Mayor Cr Don Firth said street art had delivered “huge benefits” to Benalla.

In 2017, more than 4000 visitors went to Benalla for the Wall to Wall Festival weekend, and a further 40,000 visited outside of the festival period.

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A 2017 study commissioned by the Benalla Rural City Council found the festival brought in more than $400,000 to the town during the festival period, and in the following 11 months delivered $4 million.

This year was the fourth Wall to Wall Festival, and the biggest one yet.

The festival showcased inflatable sculptures by Anthony Lister, one of Australia’s most respected street artists, a virtual reality street art stimulator, street art tours, live music, and food trucks.

The line-up of street artists included: Claire Foxton, Lolo YS, Julian Clavijo, Anthony Lister, Zenisis, Justine MacAllister, Tim Bowtell, Shaun Lu, Kaff-eine, Callum Preston, Cristen Brunner, Georgia Hill, George Rose, Leonard Siaw, Rosie Woods, Loretta Lizzio, Tom Gerrard, Elle, Lisa King and Chris Henderson.