The Daily has blurred the vandalism on the iconic mural so as not to give the graffiti further exposure.
The Daily has blurred the vandalism on the iconic mural so as not to give the graffiti further exposure. John Mccutcheon

Street artists vent fury at vandalism of popular Coast mural

MEMBERS of the street art community are angry at the defacing of the Old Woman Island mural on the shed beside the Sunshine Motorway.

The mural, originally painted in 2001 by former Sunshine Coast artist Owen Cavanagh, was only restored last month following a similar graffiti attack.

It had previously remained untouched for 14 years, but last Friday night another attack ignited the ire of Coast residents.

A long-time member of the community, who wished to remain anonymous, said the intentional destruction of the beloved mural was a "real kick in the guts" for legal street artists.

"It's quite disheartening for us," he said.

"There is, to be honest, a lot of writers who aren't going to respect a landscape that has been done like that, they just want to get their word up. Regular street artists won't go over that though, because there are heaps of other places you can create a piece."

The artist said he was convinced the perpetrator was not from the Sunshine Coast, but was more likely an opportunist who had seen the uproar created by the initial vandalism.

Seeing the prompt restoration and widespread media and social media coverage may even have been a trigger for the offender to snare a lot of public notoriety.

"This is just like heaven for those guys," he said.

"But really, I don't understand whatever it's supposed to be and as a writer and an artist myself, who takes photographs of graffiti every single day, it just looks stupid.

"It looks like they've done it just to show that they can.

"It's definitely intentional, being the second time it's happened, and it's almost a blatant, straight-out 'Look at me, I can do whatever I want'."

The artist said he knew the guys who had created pieces to the left of the mural over the years and believed if the perpetrators of the latest graffiti attack had been from within the region, they would know who it was and there "would have been words had to them".

"This is just a jerk who doesn't understand the culture of it all," he said.

He said there was no "sign-off", which indicated the offender was a lone operator and not part of a crew.

"They either want the attention or they have a personal vendetta, or straight-up beef, with Owen, which would be bizarre," he said.

The Sunshine Coast Council is preparing to install motion-sensor cameras and solar lighting at the shed on the Sunshine Coast Airport site this week to deter any future damage to the work.

Mr Cavanagh has already agreed to restore the mural.

Police investigating the vandalism are running images of the graffiti through a database of tags.

Cr Jason O'Pray has said the council would prosecute the offenders to the highest extent of the law for trespassing, wilful damage to property and vandalism.



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