The walls of the Wollongong CBD are about to receive a new lick of paint – but probably not in the way you expect.
The second annual Wonderwalls street art festival was announced yesterday, with 20 artists from Australia and overseas set to splash the city with large, colourful murals between November 8 and 10.
Wonderwalls will be ushered in by the BOOM! For Real exhibition, which opened last night at the Project Contemporary gallery on Keira Street.
‘‘The exhibit is kind of a lead-in to Wonderwalls,’’ said curator Simon Grant.
A range of Illawarra and Australian works hang alongside artists from the USA, Ireland and New Zealand at Project Contemporary, with many of the artists also on the Wonderwalls line-up.
Artist talks, live painting, DJs, pop-up stores and more will feature in the November festival, with a full program and map of mural sites to be revealed soon.
‘‘It’s all outside murals, all around Wollongong,’’ Mr Grant said.
‘‘The biggest example of last year is the mural on the Dion Building, which is still there.’’
Artist Mitch Guerin, who works under the name Bafcat and will exhibit at both BOOM! and Wonderwalls, said the events were just another example of the burgeoning street art scene in Wollongong.
‘‘By now people know there’s a big gap between vandalism and street art,’’ he said. ‘‘I don’t even consider myself a ‘street artist’ really, I just say it’s art. I don’t think there should be a distinction.’’
Mr Grant said the street art movement is gaining traction worldwide. Most typified by mysterious British artist Banksy, whose guerilla-style murals and installations in New York have been attracting huge attention in recent weeks, urban and graffiti artwork is moving from a style mostly derided as crime into a legitimate medium in the eyes of the art world.
‘‘It’s getting to a really professional standard like any other type of artwork,’’ Mr Grant said.
‘‘Some of these works are fetching top dollar at sales.’’
Nearly 20 artists are on show at Project Contemporary, which runs until November 3.
For more information on the festival, see wonderwallsfestival.com.