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Graffiti uproar as city laneway turns blue

Melbourne awoke this morning to find street artist Adrian Doyle had painted Rutledge Lane in the CBD completely blue, sparking an uproar among graffiti artists.

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A lane found off Hosier Lane, one of the premier graffiti art lanes of the world, should be a "nursery" for young graffiti artists who are learning their trade, Melbourne Lord Mayor Robert Doyle said.

Over the weekend, graffiti artist Adrian Doyle  painted over tagging and other larger artworks in Rutledge Lane with a single colour to create ‘‘Empty Nursery Blue’’. He had Melbourne City Council's consent.

"We are very proud of our street art in Melbourne and the epicentre of that is Hosier and Rutledge Lane and over the weekend my eponym Adrian Doyle has given us a blank canvas in Rutledge Lane," Lord Mayor Doyle said.

Passers-by drink in Rutledge Lane, which was been painted blue overnight.

Passers-by drink in Rutledge Lane, which was painted blue overnight. Photo: Joe Armao

He said it was as part of a much wider project with the City of Melbourne and RMIT University.

"What we have asked the street artist community to do is look at Rutledge Lane almost as an experimental lane - which it has been in the past with the permission of the private building owners - and then to look at how that morphs into Hosier Lane which really is the gathering of street art in Melbourne and one of the premier tourist attractions," he said.

Adrian Doyle, director of Blender Studios in Franklin Street, said he painted Rutledge Lane as a challenge to the city's arts community. He covered up a number of works of street art, bins and even the ground, in the process.

'I just wanted to cover the whole laneway as a one piece and claim the colour as street art,' Adrian Doyle says.

'I just wanted to cover the whole laneway as a one piece and claim the colour as street art,' Adrian Doyle says. Photo: Joe Armao

"I just wanted to cover the whole laneway as a one piece and claim the colour as street art," Doyle told radio station 3AW.

"Why claim Melbourne is the street-art capital of the world? We need to keep raising the bar. Some of the stuff that's going on overseas, it's really really epic.

"I just think it's important to a) have concept and b) I claim the Empty Nursery Blue as my tag."

Asked about the reaction to the work, he said: "There's been a few haters out there".

He said his actions had covered up "some pretty important pieces".

The artist said he spent all day Sunday painting the laneway. "I didn't think it would take so long, it was really hard work...

"As soon as I finished there were kids just waiting with their spray cans to go over it. That laneway was trashed... There's already some beautiful pieces springing up... I knew it would last only 20 minutes but that was the point of it."