A talented street artist is giving back to the community where he was raised by painting colourful artworks on vandalised walls around the Berkeley town centre to help brighten up the space and make it safer for all residents to enjoy.
Nathan Tanti spent much of his upbringing in Berkeley, playing for the local football club and making lifelong friends, and he still feels a strong connection to the area but recently he noticed the suburb was losing its lustre.
“I always drive past here and there and take a look at the area and I noticed of late it’s been really run-down,” Nathan said.
“There were just tags over buildings, a lot of vandalism, and no-one was cleaning it up.”
With permission from the local op-shop owner, Nathan decided to transform one of the walls of the building which is often the target of graffiti.
“I just want to put some pride back into the area and make it a safer area as well,” he said.
“There’s a lot of older people around here so seeing tags on the buildings they may feel unsafe so we want to get it all looking good and create more foot traffic around here and they’ll start going for more walks to a coffee shop and just create a good aura about the area.”
And after sharing the results, he received an incredible response from the community.
“We posted it online and it just blew up,” Nathan said. “The community was just all for it.
“Everyone’s stopping and saying it looks great; we had over 400 likes and comments on one of the posts, so I think people can see with their own eyes something needs to be done.”
Nathan has been painting as long as he can remember and said art was a big part of who he was, but when it came to murals the images he chose needed to be about bringing people together, not dividing communities.
“Some street artists just paint what they want and what they envision as their art and that’s cool but I think you’ve really got to create this kind of art for the public,” he said.
“I don’t paint political things or anything like that, just keep it friendly.
“We try to paint something colourful, some birds, flora, fauna … if it looks good and it looks like it’s supposed to be there then it’s a win for everyone.”
Nathan and other artists from the area are keen to expand the initiative even further to completely transform the town and also promote the talents of local creatives, but currently it relies on the support and initiative of the businesses and the community itself to see it happen.
“Because it’s not council land there’s no funding; all that’s happening here is off everyone’s own back,” he said.
“The shop owners are making a budget and all that sort of stuff and everyone’s just doing what they can without government help.”
And greater investment is needed to sustain the project and help Berkeley reach its full potential.
“We need funding because sometimes it’s not just art that’s needed – they need gardens and infrastructure as well with good planning and a budget,” he said.
For more information, email Nathan.