WITH two pieces of street art popping up in Salisbury over the summer, city councillors are divided on whether this type of work should be celebrated or removed.

While some believe the issue comes down to "common sense" - targeting offensive graffiti for removal and enjoying "meaningful" pieces - others have welcomed the change to the city's "boring" walls.

Another does not support the new graffiti at all, but "an exception can be made for Banksy’s iconic drawings".

Salisbury Journal: Mrs Banksy's graffiti by Old Mill Hotel, Salisbury - Picture from Jon MeechMrs Banksy's graffiti by Old Mill Hotel, Salisbury - Picture from Jon Meech

Mrs Banksy and Hendog

Two anonymous artists are responsible for the latest graffiti in Salisbury.

A fish and bird design appeared along the Town Path back in July, outside the Old Mill Hotel, which was later revealed to be the work of a Mrs Banksy.

Confirming the graffiti was theirs, the mystery artist told the Journal: "We just stopped for a bite to eat and had a little swim. May of had a rattle can on us and noticed that wall could have done with some colour..."

The latest piece, a monochrome spraypaint design of a smiling girl holding a camera, is currently on the wall of Framemakers in Butcher Row. 

First spotted by residents on August 20, it has been signed by artist Hendog, and is titled ‘Smile’.

READ: 'Making people smile' - Artist opens up about their latest graffiti in city

Salisbury Journal: 'Smile' - Hendog's latest work outside Framemakers Salisbury'Smile' - Hendog's latest work outside Framemakers Salisbury

'Divisive Marmite issue'

Wiltshire and city councillor for the St Edmund's ward, the area the latest work has appeared, Paul Sample, said the city council does not currently have a formal policy on the removal of graffiti, but staff must "use their common sense on removing offensive graffiti in public places", adding this is "the right way to proceed".

Describing graffiti as "one of those very divisive 'Marmite' issues", Cllr Sample said: "The problem seems to fluctuate from year to year. Someone’s graffiti is often someone else’s work of art - and this complicates things.

"I had a very happy weekend looking for Banksy’s work on walls in Bristol - but I’m sure that he irritated a lot of local residents when he started out.

"If you are offended by a tag or graffiti, the right thing to do would be to report it to the council using the MyWilts app.”

Salisbury Journal: Wiltshire and Salisbury City Councillor for St Edmund's ward Paul SampleWiltshire and Salisbury City Councillor for St Edmund's ward Paul Sample

Bringing an urban feel to the city

Salisbury City Councillor Jeremy Nettle echoed the views of some Journal readers on social media, who said more street art could give an urban feel to the city.

He said: “We have some large, plain boring walls in Salisbury that could be so inviting to the right artist, like the station approach, the old bingo hall and various buildings in Fisherton street.

“Graffiti and urban art can be attractive and non-offensive, and can tell a local story. The purpose is very much to stop and think.”

Salisbury Journal: Salisbury City Councillor for Fisherton and Bemerton Village ward Jeremy NettleSalisbury City Councillor for Fisherton and Bemerton Village ward Jeremy Nettle

'Let's not rush into judgement'

Referring to the work and success of Banksy, Cllr Annie Riddle said: “Thanks to a combination of tolerance and common sense, some graffiti artists like Banksy are now celebrated, and visitors to Bristol can go on street art tours which provide employment and liven up some pretty forlorn areas.

“Most people can tell the difference between attention-seeking teenagers ‘tagging’ the local bus stop and something more meaningful. 

"A Salisbury lad I once knew moved [to Bristol] and turned his ‘anti-social’ talent into a business, producing and selling ‘tagged’ T shirts in a street market. So let’s not rush into judgement.”

Salisbury Journal: Salisbury City Councillor for Harnham West ward Annie RiddleSalisbury City Councillor for Harnham West ward Annie Riddle

'Setting a precedence which can get messy' 

A second city councillor for St Edmund’s ward, Atiqul Hoque, voiced a different opinion on the matter.

“I don’t welcome or support any graffiti in our medieval city,” he said.

“If we do then it will set a precedence which can get messy. 

“While I appreciate art and culture there’s a time and place for that. However, an exception can be made for Banksy’s iconic drawings on any of the walls, or a one off which I’m sure people won’t mind, and that’s as far as I will go.”

Salisbury Journal: Salisbury City Councillor for St Edmund's ward Atiqul HoqueSalisbury City Councillor for St Edmund's ward Atiqul Hoque

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