Queensland

Former deputy mayor says council causes more damage than artist

Former deputy mayor and artist David Hinchliffe has said Brisbane City Council has caused more wilful damage in the city than Anthony Lister.

Mr Lister, whose work is renowned all over the world, was found guilty on Thursday of wilful damage after he painted several sites across Brisbane without permission.

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Street artist is 'Australia's Banksy'

Renowned street artist Anthony Lister is found guilty of wilful damage after painting several sites across Brisbane without permission. Nine News

Mr Hinchliffe said the situation was a bad look for Brisbane.

"It will hold Brisbane City Council up to ridicule in the eyes of the art world," he said.

"Council has done more wilful damage with bad public works projects like the Brunswick Street Mall, the China Town Mall and the absence of greenery in King George Square, than an army of Anthony Listers could do in a lifetime."

But the council's lifestyle chair Krista Adams said the decision by the courts was the right one for property owners.

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"This is not a debate about the value of street art, this is a debate about whether it is acceptable to paint another person's private property without their knowledge or permission," Cr Adams said in a statement.

"Just as you would not expect to come home from holidays to find your house painted in a different colour by your neighbours, it is similarly not acceptable for people to paint murals on buildings without the owner's permission.

"Graffiti, where permission has not been given, is vastly different to a commissioned artwork." 

Mr Hinchliffe said the council's approach to Mr Lister's work was wrong when others painting on public spaces were not prosecuted.

"I cannot understand why they should pursue and prosecute someone of his international acclaim when there are plenty of taggers out there who do wilful damage and vandalism to public and private property who go undetected and uncharged."

Mr Lister said he wasn't expecting any special treatment, but doesn't consider his work to be graffiti.

There is something wrong with the law if what I do is deemed as graffiti.

Anthony Lister

"There is something wrong with the law if what I do is deemed as graffiti," he said.

"I intend to beautify."

Mr Lister said he was uncertain whether he would continue working in Brisbane in the wake Thursday's outcome in court.

"(Working in Brisbane) is definitely something I am going to have to consider a lot more," he said. "I'm not in the practice of doing artwork in places that isn't wanted."

Mr Lister had previously been commissioned by Brisbane City Council to paint a mural on Milton Road.

As part of the mural he included the image of a council worker painting over his piece which was later covered by council.

"He had the temerity to be critical of council and council white-washed that part of the mural," Mr Hinchliffe said.

"To me, that speaks volumes."

In galleries, Mr Lister's work fetches above $15,000 and hangs on the walls of the likes of Geoffrey Rush and pop singer Pink.

But his public artworks, painted on walls, bus stops, traffic light boxes and more all over Australia and the world, are among his most famous.

From a ballerina painted across the walls of several buildings to a mural on a wall in Bushwick, Brooklyn, his pieces are highly prized, and he hopes Brisbane might eventually change its mind.

"Public spaces should be for the public," he said.

"There needs to be more making and less cleaning in my opinion."

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