Perfect Match: Placemaking through street art

The Inner West’s public art and graffiti prevention program is so successful that other councils are now investigating similar placemaking tactics.

We recently added ‘Perfect Match’ to our studio library, which tells the story of Inner West Council’s graffiti experiment. We purchased it for inspiration after proposing a huge outdoor mural for one of our own clients, and it’s a lovely showcase of local Sydney street artists.

In 2014, Inner West Council had the idea of playing “cupid” by bringing artists together with residents, businesses and property owners to commission street art. Instead of unwanted graffiti, residents can now nominate their walls for commissioned artworks, paid for by the Council.

Today, Perfect Match is one of Australia’s best-known graffiti prevention programs.

Just as Melbourne’s laneway street art is a magnet for tourists, the Perfect Match program is setting the Inner West apart as Sydney’s street art capital. Inner West Council says it has received calls from around 10 other councils looking to design similar projects.

The role of street art in making Sydney’s best places

As designers, we’re always looking for opportunities to bring public art to new developments, campuses, hospitals and other built environments. So we love how these Perfect Match murals tell distinctly local stories, which make each place more meaningful.

It’s also lovely to read about the people who have donated walls of their houses to public art, and the connections they forge with local artists along the way.

As one property owner in Newtown says, the mural behind her home – by artist Hugues Sineux – is responsible for “a little bit of joy being brought into the world” whenever someone passes.

Perfect Match’, by Melinda Vassallo, documents 80 of the site-specific artworks resulting from Inner West Council’s graffiti program. It is published by Fineline Type & Design.