“I’m not a graffiti street artist, I’m a freedom fighter.” He says his Brisbane art is usually erased by the Graffiti Task Force.

Known as Lister, his graffiti street art has been exhibited and commissioned all over the world, yet most of his art in Brisbane has been erased by the Graffiti Task Force. Lister talks graffiti, his works and the need for leniency in Brisbane.

How did you get started as a ‘graffiti artist’?

I’m not a graffiti artist, I’m a freedom fighter. If you’re asking when did I first start working in public as ‘Lister’, it was in 1998 and I was painting switch boxes for Brisbane City Council.

Does graffiti as an art form get a bad name from ‘tagging’?

Obviously… but in fact graffiti is the final frontier of true artistic integrity. Those kids that go out and do that thing while risking persecution, their own safety and the respect of society are the true essence of what it means to be free.  

Where have you exhibited your art?

All over the world for a decade. When I finished my degree at the Queensland College of the Art in 2002, I moved to New York and haven’t stopped traveling and exhibiting since then.

Where have you been commissioned to do public art/ murals?

Adelaide, Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, LA, NYC, Berlin, London, Hong Kong.

Where in Brisbane can the public view your work?

Almost all of the gifts I have made for Brisbane have been destroyed by the graffiti task force. Sadly, there are only a few tags and the Milton Rd mural still standing in Brisbane.

Should there be more education or leniency on graffiti art in Brisbane?

Absolutely! There’s too much cleaning and far too little making going on in the world. When the community feels they have the right to paint over a tag or a flower painted on a wall, there is a problem with the community. Art has the power to change the world if only the authoritarian power trippers would just let creatives be creative. It’s disabling and reeks of fear. Growing up in Brisbane as an artist fighting for the freedom of visual speech i.e. a ‘street artist’ I felt like I was a criminal.

What is Brisbane like for growing graffiti artists compared to other states in Australia?

Brisbane is notorious to other Australians for being a controlled police state run by fat head bogan(s) that are more interested in idolising sport and getting in fights at the pub than they are in beautifying hospital ceilings for the sick, let alone the streets for the kids.