A POPULAR drawing of a black swan on a hotel wall in Arundel had to be removed last week – because of a single complaint to the council.
Abby Wilkinson and Will Harvey, partners of graphic design company Loose Marbles, based in North Place, Littlehampton, drew the image of the bird on the Swan Hotel in the High Street, Arundel, during last year’s Arundel Festival.
But on Friday they were told they needed to take the chalk drawing down after just one person complained about the wall art.
Because the pub falls within the Arundel Conservation Area, Arun District Council was forced to ask for the drawing to be removed.
Will said: “It depresses me that one person can be so small-minded. It’s not meant to be permanent, but a lot of people liked it and it wasn’t offensive.
“We try to do things to push culture in the area, but there’s always someone who will complain. It’s like the year Arundel had giant spiders with human faces at the roundabout for Arundel Festival. You get someone complaining and they have to take them down. Are we entering a time when one person complaining can stop something?”
Will added: “We are not knocking Arun District Council because they’re just doing their job. It’s a shame, though, because it’s not like it’s an especially old building, but there’s always the same kind of person complaining.”
Will said he could understand why people might not be in favour of amateur street art, but his partner Abby is a professionally-trained artist.
He pointed to street art, in areas like Chichester, for example, as also being a tourist attraction and beneficial for the local economy.
He said the couple hoped in the future to create street art in Littlehampton.
The image, which has become popular with locals, was removed on Friday (April 11).
Abby said: “It was such a shame, I had lots of comments from people saying it was a lovely painting. One woman even said she would come back at night a redo it – she never did.”
Martyn White, conservation officer Arun District Council said: “After a member of the public bought this to our attention we contacted the The White Swan and the artist in question. Both are fully co-operating in removing the image. Both are very happy to do so and it will be removed very shortly.”
What do you think? Are you in favour of street art or against it? Email your views to firstname.lastname@example.org or write to The editor, Littlehampton Gazette, Cannon House, Chatsworth Road, Worthing, BN11 1NA.