THERE are legal avenues for budding graffiti artists to express themselves, rather than forcing Blacktown Council to fork out $900,000 each year to remove the vandalism.
A series of workshops start at Emerton this month to engage and mentor youth by developing artistic skills and educating them on legal alternatives.
The Graffix workshops are a result of a federal government grant from the Proceeds of Crime Act, lobbied for by Chifley MP Ed Husic.
The Graffix Project has been developed by graffiti artist and Emerton Youth Recreation Centre recreation officer Spice.
The council piloted the program at Emerton over two years: participants stopped committing graffiti offences and, in some cases, gained trainee and job placements.
"The aim is to make young artists see things differently and to learn that there are rules," Spice said.
"I hope they become more confident, take on board what they learn and pass it on to the next generation.
"Many are unaware there are legal avenues.
"There is an art to tagging but it's all about respect. It's seen as art in parts of Melbourne, but it looks out of place in suburbia."
Spice has represented Australia around the world through graffiti art.
"I was a shy, A-grade student who did graffiti, which is very much an art form in the hip hop culture," she said. "I understand the fight for the rights of artists but I also see the struggle for ratepayers, as I'm one myself."