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Perth artist furious as murals of Michael Jackson and rock star pals come off the wall

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An 80-year-old artist, dubbed Perth’s answer to Banksy, has accused property owners of “cultural vandalism” after his rock star portraits were removed from the wall of their building.

Ian Cuthbert Imrie caused a stir when he installed massive paintings of John Lennon, Michael Jackson and David Bowie on Mill Street earlier this summer.

He said the pictures brightened up an otherwise drab part of the city centre and had gone down a storm with visitors.

But the paintings fell foul of the building’s owner, who demanded Mr Imrie remove the artworks and repair any damage to the wall.

Now, after nearly five months, the paintings have been quietly removed. Mr Imrie said he was contacted by property consultants Knight Frank after the paintings disappeared, but he hasn’t been told where they are.

“I am very disappointed that this has happened,” he said. “I had been told by the council that they could stay up at least until the end of the year.

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“Now they’ve gone and I don’t even know what they’ve done with them. I really hope that they haven’t been damaged.”

He said: “This is just an example of cultural vandalism. These paintings were not doing anyone any harm.

A plaque listing several businesses which supported Mr Imrie’s work is still in place.

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No one from Knight Frank was available for comment. A spokeswoman previously said: “The paintings which have been pinned to our client’s property on Mill Street were installed without the owner’s prior consent and also breach Perth and Kinross Council’s planning control regulation.

“The street is a conservation zone managed by Perth and Kinross Council, for which plans to commission approved artwork are already in place.”

Perth and Kinross Council confirmed it was not involved in the removal of the Mill Street paintings.

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The wall could soon be transformed with a £30,000 mural as part of an international design contest.

A project, led by Culture Perth and Kinross, has attracted interest from street artists around the world.

Earlier this month, Mr Imrie was hit with a council bill to pay for the removal of an Armistice-theme painting on the side of Perth Theatre.

It is the second time the 80-year-old artist has displayed work on the B-listed building after the image of a Scottish terrier holding a heart-shaped saltire balloon was taken down in October.

 

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