London's street art guru Tristan Manco, whose books include Stencil Graffiti and Street Logos, vouches for the vigour of Melbourne's stencil art scene — with one qualification. "To take on the title of 'best stencil graffiti scene in the world', Melbourne would have to have a showdown with Buenos Aires in Argentina — the scene there has reached critical mass right now, with a fiery political and creative passion."This title could be short-lived, though, with the Melbourne City Council and Victorian government adopting a Giuliani-esque zero-tolerance policy towards graffiti, in order to sanitise Melbourne for the Commonwealth Games, as well as the new sedition laws allowing more severe penalties for some political statements (the one of Philip Ruddock's head with "Insert Bullet Here", for example). Though, as some say, the hard-line zero-tolerance approach could backfire, by replacing Melbourne's characteristic stencil art with ugly, mindless tagging
But the State Government and Melbourne City Council's hardline approach to graffiti will backfire, according to Smallman and the stencil artists and result in a proliferation of one of the most detested forms of graffiti — tagging, which can be done in five to 10 seconds.
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