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A Side of Grit—Aussie bakeries embracing graffiti...

A Side of Grit—Aussie bakeries embracing graffiti

Bakeries and cafés around Australia are leaning into the country’s graffiti scene, serving up baked goods with a side of street attitude (and some nice, family friendly stuff, too).

From the graffiti-style tags of the New York subway, to Banksy’s famous stencil art, graffiti and street art have their roots firmly planted in rebellion. Australia is home to some of the most celebrated street art in the world, and Melbourne especially has made a name for itself for the stencil art that colours the city.

While graffiti and street art still retain a sense of irreverence, many businesses have commissioned street art murals and graffiti walls as a drawcard for tourists, graffiti studio Blackbook Ink creative director Brode Compton says.

“A graffiti mural adds a point of difference to a hospitality business,” he says.

“These days it’s about being different and sticking out from your competition. By grabbing your customers’ attention, making it memorable and providing an experience.”

Cakes & Sh!t

 

Cakes & Sh!t bakery in Fortitude Valley, Queensland, is embracing image of rebellion that comes with graffiti and street tags. Owner Sam Fitzpatrick commissioned a graffiti wall featuring a sassy-looking cupcake flipping onlookers the bird.

The graffiti ties in with the bakery’s unconventional and irreverent style, Sam says.

“It all kind of ties in with that street attitude.”

The bakery is unconventional in more ways than one, making custom, sassy creations for a range of occasions. Rather than going with the traditional pink-and-white-striped décor, she decided that grungy graffiti art was a more appropriate reflection of herself and her brand.

“If I’m going to spend all my time in my business, it’s got to be somewhere that I want to hang out. And graffiti and street art—I’m a bit of a ratbag kid from Yeronga, so that kind of ties in with my childhood a little bit,” she said.

Sam’s graffiti cupcake is certainly a draw card for customers, and often attracts Instagram snaps. It’s all part of a visual experience that Sam has built for the brand, and her success is reflected in the bakery’s 15.5 thousand followers on Instagram.

“We kind of giggle about it, but a lot of people walk into the store phone first,” she says.

“We get so many people coming in just taking photos in front of it. It’s obviously our mascot, so it’s kind of recognisable.”

Pizza Deli

 

Pizza Deli in Waterloo, New South Wales, has a similar story. Owner Pete Georges wanted something to make their new business stand out, and after seeing a French bulldog pass by, the team settled on a mascot: a giant Frenchie devouring a slice of pizza.

Fitting, as the restaurant is in one of the first premium dog-friendly buildings in Sydney.

The design, made a reality by 90 Degrees Art, blends graffiti tags and photorealism, giving the huge puppy a touch of grunge.

“Dan didn’t just create an artwork for us, he created the vibe of our restaurant. People stop by just to take a photo in front of our Frenchie. We love him,” owner Pete Georges says of 90 Degrees Art’s work.

Like Sam’s sassy cupcake mural, the design is an experience in itself, inviting customers to participate.

Blackbook Ink’s Brode Compton says that these days, it’s all about the experience.

“That experience could be by having a mural that is interactive for customers to take photos against. Or even for the business brand to use as backdrops for consistency across their social media platforms, further ingraining their business by the unique mural that represents their beliefs, values and interests they want to be known for.”

Paddington Social

 

For Cakes and Sh!t and Pizza Deli, the graffiti wall is an insight into the brand, but graffiti style design doesn’t always have to be so irreverent. Take Brisbane’s Paddington Social.

Paddington Social, nestled in a converted old Queenslander, is a relaxed neighbourhood café, bakery and pop-up kitchen in the heart of Paddington. The café’s all-white wooden exterior is elegant, simple and welcoming.

In 2021, Paddington Social commissioned artist Jordache, who describes himself as a post-graffiti artist, to spray paint the side of their building with a dreamy mural, featuring curved lines and pastel colours.

The mural is fun and family friendly, giving the exterior of the café an eye-catching burst of colour. While the design couldn’t be more different to Cakes and Sh!t’s graffiti wall, the differences highlight how graffiti style design can be used to enhance branding and uplift the store’s design.

For Paddington Social, Jordache’s mural is a welcome sign to customers and an extension of the warm and inviting atmosphere inside.

Elmore Bakery

 

Graffiti isn’t just for the city slickers, says Brode.

Some Australian country bakeries are onboard too, using external wall murals to showcase their best assets.

“People are finally seeing the amazing talents of artists around Australia, to the point that rural areas are hiring graffiti artists to come paint new murals,” Brode says.

“As it’s creating more interest in their towns, we now have art trail maps for people to follow to see these murals.”

In 2020, Central Victoria’s Elmore Bakery commissioned Tongala based artist Sophie Wilson to spray paint a wall of pink-glazed doughnuts as an eye-catching design addition. The mural pays tribute to the bakery’s dedication to delicious doughnuts, from their famous two-kilogram giant doughnut to their doughnut festival, which launched in 2019.

“The idea was to make something really bright and fun that kids would find magical and say ‘wow’,” Wilson told The Bendigo Examiner.

“I wanted something that captures the eye and brings joy,” she said.

Kenilworth Country Bakery

 

Queensland’s Kenilworth Country Bakery, an hour inland from the Sunshine Coast, is another country location using street art to turn heads.

Owner Jenna Sanders commissioned a 15m airbrush mural featuring a row of legendary musicians. The artwork appears on a corrugated tin wall along the back of the bakery, capturing the likeness of icons from Biggie Smalls to David Bowie.

In 2020, Sanders welcomed back artist Daus Von Roe to paint the wall of the adjoining building, adding another 30 musicians to the mix.

The pop-culture inspired mural is a memorable surprise for customers, Sanders told the ABC.

“Nobody’s expecting to walk out the back of a 100-year-old building and see a really cool art mural of rock and roll stars.”

The murals feature on the bakery’s Instagram page as a frequent backdrop, and it’s a great place for customers to snap a pic.

Ministry of Cakes

Artwork by Set It Off / @setitoffmelbourne

Set It Off is an award-winning Melbourne-based mural artist. Managing director Andre created this stunning exterior feature wall for boutique cake studio, Ministry of Cakes in 2017, in an excellent example of how urban street art can be used to create a brand and an atmosphere in any space. When it comes to finding an artist to create a work for your business, Andre says that it’s important to value experience and professionalism over the lowest bottom line if you want quality.

“New clients, often during our initial meeting, try to explain. ‘I can get it for free’ or ‘I can get it cheaper’,” he says.

“Would you prefer an unaccredited amateur builder to build your house for you? See how long it lasts.”


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