Street art made permanent as artists connect with home owners

Sydney's inner west has long been known as an area that attracts street artists, but more and more of their work is now a permanent and welcome part of the community.

Inner West Council's 'Perfect Match' program, which connects artists with property owners who want an outdoor mural painted, is growing in popularity.

Josephine Bennet from the council said the initiative began three years ago to replace unwanted graffiti with commissioned murals.

"The community was wanting ways to manage unwanted tagging in the local area and also there was a growing interest in street art as an art form," Ms Bennett told ABC News.

This year demand for the program is huge — 52 homeowners and 70 artists have applied and council is currently working to match them up.

Once the matches are made, homeowners and artists will collaborate on designs, which will then be put to council for approval.

Painting will begin in July and all new murals will be unveiled in August.

"Apart from improving the public domain and creating a really interesting streetscape for everyone to live in [the murals] connect people in their street," Ms Bennett said.

"People are really engaged in the work while it's happening and also after it's happened, so they get to know each other and build communities that are strong."

One side of Bridget Haire's Camperdown home has been transformed into a mural of a native finch bird on a tree branch by local artist Thomas Jackson.

"I love it, I think it's really beautiful," Ms Haire told ABC News.

"It gets fantastic responses from people — like people are often out here taking pictures of it and there's a little boy who walks past and says hello to it every morning at a quarter to seven."

Ms Haire said that before the mural was painted her side wall would get tagged by graffiti artists on a weekly basis.

"Eventually we made no effort to get rid of it because we thought, 'why would you? What a waste of resources', but since this mural has been here there has been no graffiti," she said.

Artist Thomas Jackson, 32, said the program has also been an excellent opportunity for Sydney artists to bring their work to a wide audience.

"I think one of the biggest challenges for a young artist in a big city is, how do you get other people to see your work so they know who you are and what you're doing?" Mr Jackson said.

"I mean it's very easy to sit in a studio toiling away but then if no one ever sees it did you create that work?

"This is a great way to get your work out there and get a little bit of recognition for what you're doing."

Every week Inner West Council receives calls from other councils wanting to copy the Perfect Match initiative.

Councillor Jess Scully from City of Sydney Council said she thinks it's "a wonderful idea".

"I know that there are a lot of homeowners who want to connect with artists and a lot of artists who are looking for a canvas and a place to showcase their creativity, so I'm hopeful that our changes at the City of Sydney will go towards that too," Councillor Scully said.

City of Sydney Council is seeking approval from the NSW Government to remove the need for some development applications (DA).

"There are still restrictions on commercial content so no advertising, no offensive content, and if you live in a heritage area - so a place with lots of terraces - you still have to apply for a DA [because] that's a conservation zone," Councillor Scully said.

Even within the rules, one person's art could be another's eyesore, but some locals say that's the point.

"I think it's exciting to have different opinions - I mean there are certainly examples of things around here that I don't like, but I kind of like that it's there even if I don't like it," Ms Haire said.