Mandurah artist launches campaign to combat vandalism

A Mandurah man has launched a self-funded beautification campaign to combat vandalism in the city. 

Isaac Leef said he was fed up of seeing graffiti blanketing local businesses and wanted to do something about it.

“I’ve seen an opportunity and a need,” he said. 

“Just recently I’ve noticed that there has been a lot of tagging that has come up on businesses.

“Even on our new bridge. We just got a new bridge and it’s already got tagging on it.

“I thought that was no good. Just to see that vandalism so fast and so quick is pretty discouraging. It makes the town look ugly.”

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Mr Leef admitted he used to graffiti other people’s property as a teenager but at the age of 16 decided to use his skills for good and started creating large community-focused murals.

“I’m an ex-vandal, myself,” he said.

“I’ve been doing creative art since I was a kid. In my younger days… I did a bit of mischief. There’s a time when you just grow out of it.

“I was very heavy influenced by American culture and graffiti is American.”

He also decided to use his experiences to develop a learning program to steer others away from vandalising.

In New Zealand, Mr Leef and a group of other artists started an initiative to teach students about graffiti and the need to appreciate and respect their communities. 

The initiative, Tag Free Kiwi, attracted national attention and was eventually picked up by the education department to be included in the curriculum. 

He said street art was an opportunity for youths to take pride in themselves and their own community. 

Mr Leef said art could be a way to deter crime as he believed it was an alternative outlet to express emotions.

The 35-year-old moved to Mandurah from New Zealand in 2013, to work as a plumber.

“I’m a plumber by trade but in my spare time I like doing art,” he said.

Isaac Leef's mural on Peekaboo Dog Wash in Greenfields. The business on Hampton Street was the first in Mandurah to get on board the initiative.  Mr Leef picked a bulldog called Mr Bobby Ciao for the mural. He said dogs were a great subject as they represented loyalty and unconditional love. Photo: Isaac Leef.

Isaac Leef's mural on Peekaboo Dog Wash in Greenfields. The business on Hampton Street was the first in Mandurah to get on board the initiative. Mr Leef picked a bulldog called Mr Bobby Ciao for the mural. He said dogs were a great subject as they represented loyalty and unconditional love. Photo: Isaac Leef.

The first business to partner with Mr Leef was Peekaboo Dog Wash in Greenfields. 

The business now boasts several large murals of dogs throughout its centre on Hampton Street.

Mr Leef is looking to partner with other local artists to support the project. 

“This is not a one-man project. You need a team. A team of artists,” he said. 

While six businesses have shown interest at the moment, Mr Leef is still looking for more willing to give up a spare wall as a blank canvas. 

Mr Leef is also hoping to acquire donations to cover the cost of spray paint and hiring equipment, such as ladders. 

If you would like to donate contact Mr Leef via lfcontractors.au@gmail.com or 0406 759 674. 

Mr Leef’s work can be found on his Facebook and Instagram pages. 

Please report any suspicious graffiti activities, no matter how insignificant, to Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or the City on 9550 3777.

Information about ways the City of Mandurah tackle graffiti vandalism can be found at mandurah.wa.gov.au/services/community-safety/graffiti.