Tom Civilian is Too Civil by Half

Civilian wall insetStreet artist Civilian – (aka Tom Civil) is a Melbourne street artist born in 1978. He came to Melbourne for the S11 blockades for the World Economic Forum in 2000 and decided to stay.

Since then, Civil or Civilian has presented “empty shows” in abandoned spaces – a description for illegal exhibitions held in derelict buildings; however, in 2003 the local Melbourne police caught him at a suburban location in Canterbury with an “Empty show” in progress, but, no criminal charges were laid.

CivilianCivil’s work maintains a strong graphic design theme using stencil, woodcuts and poster design murals. He often focuses his art on political and activist content. He has commented:

I think that’s the thing with street art. Its about the experience of it and the transient nature of it all means you’re so lucky to find a little stencil hidden away, and the next time you pass it or grab a friend to show them, its gone”.

“What’s beautiful about street art is the secrets and discovering those hidden things. It’s exploring a city, being urban explorers. It makes me think of the Cave Class, the people that explore the tunnels and drains under the city or the empty shows. Its about discovery.”

Some of his walls and murals include:

  • Warmun (East Kimberley) a project with the Gija community
  • Singapore
  • Cockatoo Island and Campbelltown Sydney
  • Mural workshop, Armidale NSW
  • Cans Festival London
  • Dight Falls, Yarra River and inner suburban areas of Melbourne including Collingwood Carlton and Brunswick, to name but a few.

“- Too Civil by Half” is attributed to Richard Brinsley Sheridan (1751-1816) who was an Irish playwright and poet and long-term owner of the London Theatre Royal, in Drury Lane.

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