A few days ago, a reader sent me this via Twitter. It's the story of an abandoned bike that had been chained up on a street in Toronto, left to rust, then lovingly restored by a local artist into a feature artwork... only to have the local council slap a fine on him for 'storing a bike on public property'. You can read the full article here. I've reproduced the text below, but you can find comments (and maybe whether the story has a happy ending) on the site. Which makes me think... has anyone seen any street art like this in Melbourne - or anywhere else for that matter? Should we make one?
Toronto artist turns abandoned bike into sculpture, City threatens fine for "storing bike on public property"
A Toronto artist repainted an abandoned bike that had been locked in front of a storefront gallery for years, sanding it and spraypainting it eyepopping pink and adding a flower-basket. This eyesore-to-sculpture transition was well-loved in the neighbourhood, but the City of Toronto decided that the act of decorating the bike has converted it from abandoned trash to "a bike stored on public property" and is now threatening fines if someone doesn't angle-grind the lock off and haul the bike away.
On the only day that it wasn't raining last week, I set myself to work on the Raleigh. I sanded it (a laborious task since the entire frame of the bike was covered in rust) and then I primed it. As the bike went from rusted brown to white people began to ask me about it. What was I doing? Was it a memorial? The long forgotten bike was creating some buzz. Once the primer was dry, I spray painted the bike neon orange. A colour Vanessa and I picked out together at Montana Colours, aka The Bomb Shelter.The bike was glowing and so was I. It looked better than I had imagined. It looked fucking incredible (excuse me, but the F- word is absolutely necessary here). When Vanessa came to see the finished result, the two of us danced around the gallery squealing for joy. We agreed that this would be the first of an ongoing project called the "really-fucking-cool-urban-street-project" or just "the neon bike project."...
Yesterday, I arrived to the gallery with flowers, ready to plant them in the basket, only to find a notice from the city stapled to our neon bike. It turns out it is illegal to store bicycles on public property, and that we have seven days to remove it before we are fined and it is taken away to be destroyed. The funny thing is that this bike has been sitting in the same place for years, unnoticed by the city. However, once it is brightened and made beautiful, it's got to go. I am determined to save the neon bike that makes so many people happy.