It could easily appear in an art gallery. It wasn't in an art gallery. The brick work certainly gives that away. Rather it was found in a lonely back alley in inner Melbourne. Easily missed by most people as they walk by, busily going about their day to day work activities. No time to pause and notice this portrait of a young woman.
The art work raises lots of questions. Who is the street artist? Who is the young woman? Did she pose for the artist or did the artist have a photograph of her? Perhaps the image was fixed in the artist's mind as he or she painted the image? Was it even based on a real person or someone from the artist's imagination, or a combination of people he or she knew? Was she based on a character in a book or movie?
There's something pensive and reflective about her expression - captured so beautifully by the artist. There's an innocence and vulnerability about her. Her hair covering her left eye adds an air of mystery to her, a wish to hide away perhaps or not be seen. Perhaps tears are welling and she doesn't want them to be seen. Perhaps she's deep in thought. Or scared.
The portrait deserves to be captured for longer than the street art movement allows. How long will it take before it's painted over? How long will it last? The effort it has taken and the beauty portrayed deserves better than to be painted over. I guess the street artist knew this well enough when making the decision to make the portrait. This could add to the illusion. The illusion of beauty in a back alley. Transitory. Not lasting forever. Vulnerable and timeless.
That may well be part of the attraction of the street art portrait. To see how long it lasts. To see whether others find it captivating and don't want to destroy it, cover it, ruin it.
Thanks for this thought provoking article. Like you, I am fascinated by street art. Thanks for sharing some of Melbourne's street art through your articles. Street art can brighten up a dull back street or alley.