Bendigo graffiti artist warns amateurs not to cap if they can't burn

BRING THE BURN: Bendigo graffiti artist Nacho says it's fine to cover another's piece as long as yours is better. He has branded an attempt to cover one of his pieces the work of an amateur.
BRING THE BURN: Bendigo graffiti artist Nacho says it's fine to cover another's piece as long as yours is better. He has branded an attempt to cover one of his pieces the work of an amateur.

While for some graffiti might be vandalism wherever it appears, among those using it for self expression there are unspoken rules about bringing out the spray cans.

A Bendigo artist is calling on the local graffiti scene to evolve after someone broke one such rule.

One of Nacho’s* recent works was covered with what he described as a “rubbish throw up”.

He was one of a group of artists who added pieces at the Bendigo Skate Park on McIvor Road.

While graffiti in public places was illegal, the City of Greater Bendigo was allowing it on the sides and back of the skate park’s ramps as part of a 12 month trial.

Nacho said he was not against people painting over his pieces as long as new works were worth looking at.

Instead someone painted over his piece in a style used for speed rather than quality.

“It was disrespectful,” Nacho said.

Among graffiti artists there was a belief that you never “capped what you couldn’t burn” – i.e, never covered a piece with something of lesser quality.

In Melbourne artists looked down on those who failed to burn, but with less quality Bendigo pieces Nacho said it was possible not everyone saw things the same way.

“It would be a rare occasion but yeah, it happens,” he said.

Meanwhile, Vern Hardie’s work at the park was tagged.

“I’d rather see someone extend it or do something better … I just see it as really immature. It shows no respect,” he said.

“If you look around (the skate park), if you wanted to paint your name there’s plenty of space.”

For Vern, it was like painting over statues or other public artwork installed to inspire creativity.

Nacho had a suspicion about why someone would want to cover his work.

It was possible the second artist was responding to an apparent lack of letters in his piece, since words sprayed next to their work read “no letters it ain’t graf (graffiti)”.

What the second artist did not realise was Nacho had hidden letters in his piece.

Nacho has since returned to the park to write “TOY” (slang for a novice), “no style” and “learn to read” over both works.

*Not his real name.