Mother! film director Darren Aronofsky has expressed his disappointment after hearing that a Melbourne ad agency painted over an iconic Newtown mural with an ad for his upcoming film.
Aronofsky took to Twitter yesterday to apologise to the original artist of the mural – known locally as “It’s like a jungle sometimes” – and express his embarrassment. “Just read of ad agency in Sydney breaking #1 graffiti rule. I'm embarrassed and furious. Apologies to [the mural’s artist Colin] Bebe and I'll pay to replace [the] piece,” he said.
The day before, Apparition Media posted a statement to its Instagram page also apologising to the artist and the Newtown community.
“We are going to restore the original mural in collaboration with the artist and we have agreed to cover all costs, assist him in painting it and get the story of the mural out there to as many people as we can. We are also going to use this opportunity to raise money for a local charity of the artist's choice to raise awareness around youth suicide.”
Hey Newtowners, Let's just start by saying we're sorry to you all and you've been heard loud and clear. We managed to get in touch with the original designer/artist and he is a ripping bloke. He told us the history of the mural and what it represents. After chatting at lengths about this, and our common journey of losing someone to suicide, he has asked that we collaborate on the new mural and become part of the story. It shows the mark of the man that despite us painting over the mural without approaching him first and despite the public outcry from you all, he wants our team member to tell the story of her brother within the new artwork - in his words "This is all just another chapter in the story of this mural." We have expressed our regret for painting over it and apologised for our ignorance. We are going to work together to restore the original mural in the coming weeks. In the meantime, he has asked that we finish our mural. He is supportive of what we do and understands that we are a collective of sign writers who employ artists to do what they love doing - we are not a faceless corporate entity. After we complete the final stage of this mural, we are going to restore the original mural in collaboration with the artist and we have agreed to cover all costs, assist him in painting it and get the story of the mural out there to as many people as we can. We are also going to use this opportunity to raise money for a local charity of the artist's choice to raise awareness around youth suicide. Again, we apologise to the Newtown community for painting over this much loved mural, hopefully something good will come out of all of this. Before posting this, we gained approval for the artist to do so. From the artists and creators of Apparition Media
Inner West Council also took to social media to share that the advertisement was unauthorised and that it is investigating the matter further.
“Unfortunately Apparition Media also painted this mural over a much-loved, iconic public artwork in Newtown on the weekend: "it's like a jungle sometimes". Council did not approve the advertisement, and the display of advertisements is prohibited in heritage areas. The matter is now being investigated by Council’s Compliance Section.”
This morning the advertisement was painted over in plain blue with an advertisement for the suicide prevention organisation Lifeline at the request of the artist.
Numerous high-profile street artists have also vented their displeasure, claiming the ad agency has a history of painting over other artists’ work. They also warned Apparition Media’s future clients.
Sydney-based artist Scott Marsh – famous for his “Casino Mike” mural – weighed in on Instagram. “This agency has a history of circumventing artists, paying property owners to paint ads over public murals. Culture vultures feeding off the fad of street art and graffiti culture while shitting on the people who created it. If they are painting your advertisements you’re tarred with the same brush,” he said.
I was glad to see @apparitionmedia put on blast today for painting over Colin Bebe's iconic "Its like a jungle sometimes " Mural in Newtown. This agency has a history of circumventing artists, paying property owners to paint ads over public murals.👎🏻👎🏻👎🏻 Culture vultures feeding off the fad of street art and graffiti culture while shitting on the people who created it. If they are painting your advertisements your tarred with the same brush. All your ads deserve a good dose of chrome and black. 🖕🏼🖕🏼 #culturevultures #artnotadds #norespect Link to the article in my bio
Greens MP for Newtown Jenny Leong is impressed by the community’s response. “Congrats to everyone for your amazing community response to this outrageous attempt to commercialise something that is so unique and valued by our community,” she said. “You are an inspiration.”