Leeds graffiti artist changes mural in bid to reverse removal demand

A graffiti artist who has been ordered to remove a mural he was commissioned to paint on a Leeds street has re-worked the piece in hope that Leeds City Council will drop its demand.

The new mural.
The new mural.

Chris Miller created the colourful piece on 1 Garton Terrace in East End Park after being paid by the homeowner Anthony Olatunji.

However Leeds City Council requested it be wiped clean after receiving complaints from residents who found the mural “offensive” and an “eye-sore” due in part to a cartoon image of a decapitated person on it.

Mr Miller, of Rothwell, has now painted over the grizzlier sections of his work and is hoping the council will reverse its decision.

Graffiti artist Chris Miller with his mural as it was before.

He and Mr Olatunji have said that most neighbours and children in the area enjoy the piece and a petition has been set up to keep it on the house.

Leeds City Council said it is now speaking to people in the community to "gauge true levels of opinion" about the work and will then "work with the artist".

Mr Miller, 34, said: “So after we had got a response from the council it seemed that the bottom line [of having to remove it] was because there was a decapitated man on the piece.

“I suppose it depends how you look at it. A comment by someone I read said ‘yeah but you’re looking at it with adult eyes’.

Graffiti artist Chris Miller with his mural as it was before.

“I don’t think kids will think of something horrific and gory, they just see it as a cartoon character whose head floated away.

“There’s no gore or blood or knives or anything like that in our picture.”

He added: “We changed it as soon as possible to try not to cause offence to anyone who it may have, as that’s not what it’s all about and hopefully with these changes our wall can stay.”

A Leeds City Council spokeswoman said: “We’re speaking to people in the local community to gauge true levels of opinion on how they feel it impacts on them and once we’ve assessed that we will work with the artist on what we feel is the best way forward.”