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The debate as to whether graffiti is an art form or simply just vandalism has been a hot topic in Melbourne for years.

Laneways, alleys, and walls across Melbourne explode with colour and character, as the city plays canvas to Melbourne’s street artists.

But while some believe this radical expression is art, others believe our city should look more like the Melbourne John Brack depicts in his painting, ‘Collins St., 5pm’.

Thomas Elliot of Hawthorn is frequently paid by business owners to spray paint artwork on bare walls in both the Boroondara and Yarra municipalities.

“There’s a big difference between what artists like my group and I do, and others tagging public and private property without permission,” said Elliot.

The derelict California Hotel in Hawthorn, a graffiti hotspot in Boroondara

So, is graffiti simply vandalism because it’s in a place where it legally should not be?

And, if the council allowed for designated graffiti areas, would it be considered art?

According to an article by Progress Leader this month, Boroondara council spent more than $250,000 on graffiti removal last year.

Camberwell Railway Station, the deserted California Hotel on Barkers Road, Hawthorn, and the Glenferrie shopping precinct are some of Boroondara’s graffiti hot spots.

Furthermore, a special report by Leader has found more than $5 million is spent every year removing graffiti from around Melbourne.

Stephanie Andrews, 21, of Kew said there should be a place for artists to graffiti legally.

“As soon as society puts a ban on something, people tend to rebel against that,” says Andrews.

“We should be encouraging creative members of our society to express themselves.

“The council should dedicate areas where artists can do their thing legally.”