Change of heart over art


While some street artists are showcasing their talents during the G20 Cultural Celebrations one renowned Australian street artist has appeared in Brisbane Magistrate’s Court charged with graffiti offences.

A Brisbane man, reportedly faces 12 charges of wilful damage, dating back to 2009.

After spending time in Brisbane Watch House, the artist told the Courier Mail, “I thought what I do is art. Apparently it’s a crime.”

“These charges were brought on by Brisbane City council, who gave me the graffiti disease in the first place.”

In 2000, the council asked Lister to paint Brisbane’s traffic signal boxes in a street art project launched by former deputy mayor and artist David Hinchcliffe.

Ironically, last week we reported that Brisbane was embracing street art to enrich Brisbane’s cultural landscape and city’s character as part of the G20 Cultural Celebrations.

Street artists created the Pillars Street Art Gallery, which showcases provocative, Indigenous inspired murals on Merivale Street.

The Pillars Art Gallery is said to be legacy artworks that will remain for years to come, according to the Queensland Government’s G20 Cultural Celebrations website.

However Brisbane City Council has painted over Lister’s public artwork – which he had been commissioned to do.

Anthony Lister's artwork painted over by Brisbane City Council | Image: Jack Tran
Anthony Lister’s artwork painted over by Brisbane City Council. Photo: Jack Tran

It’s unclear whether the Pillars Street Art Gallery will have the same fate once the G20 celebrations are over.

Lister has had solo exhibitions and murals featured in major cities around the world and has previously been named as one of Australia’s top collectible artists, with his work selling for tens of thousands of dollars and celebrities such as Pharrell Williams and Hugh Jackman owning some of his work.

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