An artist who battled drug addiction and cancer has started a campaign for Harrogate to have a legal graffiti wall.
Greg Metcalfe, who has admitted responsibility for the ‘Banksy’ work revealed in the ‘Advertiser earlier this year, decided to launch a petition after he was arrested by the police for painting graffiti around the town centre.
Greg was diagnosed with cancer in 2011.
He said: “I just love art, it’s what helped me through the last two years. There’s nowhere kids can go to learn about urban art, and we need to encourage them to get involved. It’s meant to be an accepted form of art.”
High Harrogate Coun Richard Cooper (Con) said: “We need to deal with issue sensitively. It would need to be in a location that wouldn’t ruin the unique character of our town.
“I’m happy to look at any way that would stop people creating more graffiti.”
Graffiti is illegal under the Criminal Damage Act 1971, and the Anti Social Behaviour Act 2003 allowed authorities to punish offenders and order them to clean up graffiti.
Greg believes having a legal space for people to paint graffiti could help reduce crime.
“As long as it isn’t legal, there’s always going to be graffiti on the streets. We’ll see bits of it everywhere,” he said.
Harrogate has recently seen an increase in graffiti, including Greg’s ‘Banksy’ between Kings Road and Back Cheltenham Mount.
He has organised a self-initiated clean-up of his previous graffiti in a bid to show Harrogate Council he is taking positive steps, and is serious about the project. There are 77 legal graffiti walls in the UK.
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