Victoria pub turns graffiti into logo after $100,000 in vandalism damage

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One man’s graffiti tag is another bar’s new logo, Mike Boyle owner of Swans Pub thought to himself after deciding to embrace the vandalism on the side of his building.

Swans Pub has a history of its patio being severely damaged by active vandalism, especially at the height of COVID-19. Damage has been so massive that the pub ended up having a bill of over $100,000 to replace the damaged patio.

“I came to work one day, and there’s this little four-inch drawing on our patio on the frame, and it’s insignificant, it’s not a big deal,” Boyle said. “It’s just a little four-inch drawing, but after everything we’ve gone through, I was deflated and thought, oh man, here we go again.”

Instead, the pub owner thought about the picture of the bird a little more and was reminded of when Swans was built by Micheal Williams back in 1989. The area of Victoria where the bar was constructed was dilapidated, and as Boyle put things, it “wasn’t the best area of town.” According to Boyle, William’s friends thought that he was crazy for buying the building and doubted he could turn it into the successful Victoria bar it is today.

Williams had his artist draw up a picture that has since been one of his favourites. It’s a duckling that appears downtrodden. The duck has an eye patch over one eye and an empty wine bottle under its wing. Williams captioned the drawing, “I may be an ugly duckling now, but watch me turn into a swam.”

“So when we did the renovations of the pub and going through old interviews with Micheal, I had found this story, and then I had an artist recreate the drawing, and then we put it on the front door, sort of a tribute to that,” said Boyle. “I like to think that the artist of the new logo sort of took inspiration from the ugly duckling that was on the wall. Let’s take this piece of street art and turn it into a logo, just to have some fun with it.”

Swans Pub has put the new logo on hats, and business cards, and has used it on social media. The pub will continue to integrate and embrace the logo into its business.

READ MORE: ‘Everything is an original idea’: Young Victoria artist looks to the future

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