Street art stripped

It was painted on the back wall of Metropolis Nightclub as a promotion for an exhibition he was holding in Perth, but was removed less than six months later.

Mr Lister said he only found out about the removal once it was already gone, taking to Twitter to announce it would be the last time he did any work in Fremantle.

‘It’s a terribly hollowing and empty feeling. It’s almost like losing a loved one,’ he said.

‘When I heard that Fremantle is now holding a Street Art Festival, I thought it was ironic.’

Responsibility for the removal lay with Metropolis. Owner David Heaton said he and his staff loved the pirate, but miscommunications during the piece’s creation meant it had to go.

‘We never sought approval from the landlord as we thought of it as a gift,’ he said.

‘He wanted it explained why he was not consulted and he would not have approved it regardless.’

Mr Heaton said there was also confusion over the city’s new graffiti policy, which he said applied only to City-owned buildings. Mr Heaton said City officials tried to fine Mr Lister before the Mayor intervened, while he himself was fined $500.

‘Given that Anthony Lister’s work in Fremantle attracts a $500 fine, I think the policy is a failure,’ he said.

‘I think the policy may work for city owned buildings, but the artist runs the risk of their art being regarded as vandalism and the ramifications that go with that, should their art not be appreciated by the City of Fremantle or they get caught painting their artwork on the side of the building.’

City of Fremantle Community Development director Marisa Spaziani said any fines handed out would likely have been due to there being no planning approval for the works but it would have to be looked into.

‘The City respects the right of the building owner to decide what does or doesn’t go on their walls,’ she said.

‘As per the graffiti policy, the City can only control public walls.

‘The City considers street art as an important art form and hence the graffiti policy was developed to encourages good quality art pieces to not be removed, however, the City will always respect the right of private owners to make that decision.’