Art is easy and other things that will make you mad, a Melbourne Arts Club report. Words - Kate Forsyth

Photos - Kate Forsyth, J Forsyth


Attached to a freeway pylon holding up Geelong Road in Footscray is the below street art.

art is easy

Controversial art holding up a main road, well I never! But it got me to thinking. If someone felt the need to make this art and display it publicly, it must be important to them. They want me, the freeway and others to know that they - and Lego - believe that art is not the easy thing.

So let’s discuss. As a non-artist and enjoyer of heated debates, I am most certainly qualified to wade right into this argument.

Firstly, here is an abridged  (fictitious) history of the art is/n’t easy debate.

  1. Person A said art was easy; the simpler choice.
  2. Person B - an artist - disagreed, expressed outraged and told their artist friends.
  3. Person B mentions art is not easy at several dinner parties.
  4. Topic is debated.
  5. Disagreement ensues.
  6. Glass of wine is thrown in face.
  7. Lego street art is created and attached to freeway pylon to make statement.
  8. Melbourne Arts Club photographs art.
  9. Issue is FINALLY dissected and settled for good. See below.


So why do people say art is easy, or infer it is somehow a cushy alternative to other professions or lifestyles? Perhaps they see a person painting and think it’s a shit load easier than being a nuclear physicist or a garbage collector. After all, you don’t want to stuff up at the nuclear plant and accidently let the plutonium rod bounce into the back of your protective suit, before throwing it into the street. That seems pretty intense.  Painting a fruit bowl is way more chilled, no?

Perhaps they see arty people wearing tie dye and jealously wish they weren’t encased in a business suit and tie. Perhaps they yearn for loose, breathable fabrics. Perhaps they hate tie dye. Either way, they perceive it to be easier than their lot in life.

Maybe they overlay their own experiences as an accountant/coroner/tree surgeon and decide they lead a harder life because of the dodgy deductions/dead bodies/diseased trees. Whereas artists are just swanning about, getting up at 11 and never having to touch fraudulent receipts, deceased persons or rotting tree carcasses.footy_finals-1-21

Art is open to interpretation. Perhaps this freaks out the people who rely on everything having a definitive answer, right and wrong, black and white. Les artistes enjoy freedom to choose any number of paths to get to their destination. Making the other guy angrily shout about how science and maths is way harder and art is simple because any fool with five bucks can buy some paint, but the same fool cannot work out a quadratic equation.

On the other hand, artists say it’s not the easy thing to choose. Is creating art a huge burden, or are they merely saying that tie dye doth not make for a perfect life?

I wager the artist may say that endless possible creative outcomes might make the process fraught, difficult and never ending. They may say that art is not the easy life choice because for the majority, it’s a life free of the material comforts regular pay checks and overflowing bank accounts bring, and instead is filled with abuse from those on the other side of the debate.

Are artists opting out of regular society, as some people claim, or does this disregard the importance of art in all its form in our society?  After all, if all the creative types took jobs at Coles and KPMG, who the dickens would put evocative art onto freeway pylons so that people with regular jobs where tie dye is only worn at the hippie-themed Christmas party could discuss on an art website?


Frankly, I could go on for quite some time, but I fear that you will soon want someone to Van Gogh your ears. So instead, I will move onto my list of other totally unrelated things that will make you mad:

  • “I’m not racist but…”
  • “Have you got your period?”
  • Slow walkers
  • Couples  who hold hands on Brunswick Street
  • Right lane dwellers
  • Being told to “Just chill out” or “calm down”
  • “Have you tried shutting down and restarting?”
  • Bootcut jeans
  • People who go to pole dancing classes
  • People who insist on telling you about going to pole dancing class
  • People who are dicks
  • Pedestrians who activate the crossing lights, then cross before they go off
  • Weather whingers
  • People who wear chiffon to the office
  • Rich people angrily decry the high wages in this country
  • News reader hair
  • Thongs
  • Birkenstocks
  • Stripper shoes
  • Floral head pieces
  • A Current Affair
  • Sand in your crack.

Agree, disagree, or have your own maddening things to add to the list? Take to social media and hashtag #vangoghmyears and tag Melbourne Arts Club. Go on.