Pavement Appreciation


Watch where you’re walking, keep your eyes on the road, and thank you for using this website as your guide.

Wherever you go there are artworks and unofficial signs written underfoot. We hope the examples on this website will inspire you to explore the pavement in your own part of the world. Once you start looking you might gain some surprising insights into places you thought you knew.


Pavement Appreciation: a step-by-step guide to asphalt graffiti showcases snapshots taken since 1999, mainly in Sydney and other
parts of Australia, but also in Canada, China, Europe and New Zealand. This website is a component of a postgraduate research project undertaken by Megan Hicks in Sydney, Australia. The creation of the site was supported by a grant from the Macquarie University Postgraduate Research Fund.

Concept, direction, text and all photographs by Megan Hicks. Website design by Stu of the Day. Many thanks to family, friends, colleagues, university supervisors, and sometimes total strangers, for their support and encouragement, as well as their comments,
advice, technical assistance, and tips on where to see good stuff on the ground.


Selected publications associated with this project:

Hicks, Megan. 2006. The eternal city. Meanjin 65 (2):139-146.
Reflections on chalk, hopscotch, blackboards and Sydney’s most famous pavement graffitist.

———. 2009. City of epitaphs. Culture Unbound 1 (Article 26):453-467.
Official art installations and unofficial graffiti confirm the pavement’s role as both witness and accomplice to fatality.

———. 2009. Hard feelings. Antithesis 19:229-233.
Demonstrative lovers turn private events into public headlines when they plaster their feelings all over the pavement.

———. 2009. Horizontal billboards: the commercialisation of the pavement. Continuum: Journal of Media and Cultural Studies 23 (6):765-780.
Guerrilla marketing campaigns mimic sidewalk graffiti and make an old form of advertising new again.

———. 2009. Outlines (Watch this space). Second Nature 1 :124 – 139.
The chalked outline of a corpse is a crime fiction cliché that has been assimilated into our everyday visual vocabulary.

———. 2009. Reading the roads. In Dictionary of Sydney. Sydney: Dictionary of Sydney Trust.
Over time the roadways of Sydney have become densely covered with traffic signs, but there is still room for unofficial notices and artworks.

———. 2010. The decorated footpath. In Dictionary of Sydney. Sydney: Dictionary of Sydney Trust.
An inspection of any Sydney footpath will reveal that there is always some decorative embellishment applied to its utilitarian surface.

———. 2010. Perceptions: Graffiti rocks. Scan (Journal of media arts culture).
Holidays away are opportunities for discovering pavement graffiti in unfamiliar places.

———. 2010. Street writing (video/slide show). Interdisciplinary Themes Journal 1 (1).
Graffiti on city roads and sidewalks is evidence of territorial conflict between motorists, pedestrians, cyclists and property owners.

———. 2010. Underground adventures (Exhibition review). Health and History 12 (2):134-139.
A look at manholes from both sides – up and down.

———. 2012. Surface reflections:  personal graffiti on the pavement. Australasian Journal of Popular Culture 1 (3): 365-382.
Personal inscriptions on the pavement may reveal the hidden unconscious of a place.

———. (ongoing). Pavement graffiti blog.
A blogsite where asphalt rules, grey is good, and the hunt is on for anything written, drawn, scrawled or stencilled on the ground.