Melbourne has a reputation as the go-to city in Australia for street art, but often our northern suburb friends Fitzroy and Collingwood take all the glory. Little do some realise that Brunswick has its own claim to fame – Sunshine Lane, a bluestone cobbled laneway that’s dedicated to graffiti art, letting some of Melbourne’s best artists loose on its walls.
Hidden away from the bustle of Lygon street, Sunshine Lane curves round the back of a fabric warehouse off of Ann Street. You might completely miss it, if it weren’t for the huge, brightly coloured mural adorning a wall opposite vintage shop, Mrs. Secondhand.
Curiosity will lead you to wander along the narrow lane to discover more artwork. Part of the appeal of street art is the ‘hunt’ and challenge of exploring outside, navigating obstacles along the path as you go. Sunshine Lane offers no polished floors nor white walls. In this urban gallery, you will be dodging puddles while admiring how artists have used the streetscape as their canvas, often painting on hard to reach walls while battling with the weather. This experience grants you another level of appreciation when you consider the artwork was created in that very location you are viewing it.
Sunshine Lane derived back in 2009 from warehouse owner Dean Sunshine’s desire to allow artists to paint his laneway freely, with works not driven or motivated by money. A long-time follower of Melbourne street art since its origins in the 80’s, Dean felt the scene lost some of its soul as corporate, and council money came into play. With a few artists drawn to the financial pull of commissioned work some of the alternative, anti-establishment roots of the movement were lost. Sunshine Lane acts as a kind of safe haven for artists to display their raw work, with no boundaries and a shared mutual respect for each other.
Here are just a few names that have featured in Sunshine Lane – Adnate, Apeseven, Bail, BMD, Damien Mitchell, Deams, Drab, Dscreet, Dvate, E.L.K., Hancock, Heesco, Hush, Itch, Jack Douglas, Junky Projects, Kaff-eine, Ling, Makatron, Mr Penfold, Mysterious Al, Pawn, Phibs, Rashe, Scale, Shida, Slicer, Taylurk, Unwell Bunny, Vexta, Will Coles.
The scene is thriving, and the walls and roller doors of Sunshine Lane are constantly refreshed with new ink. This secret little corner of Brunswick will keep you coming back to check out the latest epic piece.