Is this artistic graffiti in Leeds or simply an ugly eyesore?

A graffiti artist has brightened up a Leeds street with a mural to inspire youngsters – but it has to be removed.

Chris Miller transformed the side of 1 Garton Terrace in East End Park.

He was commissioned by its owner after he had seen the artist’s work elsewhere.

But following a complaint Leeds City Council has ordered the home owner, Anthony Olatunji, to remove the art or potentially face a fine.

The council has said that some residents consider the graffiti an “eye-sore” as well as “anti-social and offensive” because it features a decapitated person.

Artist Mr Miller, of Rothwell, said he wanted to brighten up an area which is a bit of an “urban jungle”.

He said: “It was for the kids really. We asked the children if they want some colour and brightness in the area and they were up for it.

“When we were painting it, all the kids were around the area getting involved.”

He added: “There’s a lot of crime in the area and we wanted to bring a burst of colour.”

The mural includes positive messages such as “reach for the sky” and “living is giving”.

A petition has now been set up by resident Olivia Wozniak, who thinks the work “helps to bring a positive light and lots off colour to a very drab and crime ridden area that suffers a lot of anti social behaviour”.

It has gained more than 130 signatures.

She wrote: “Most residents and all nearly all of the children in the area really love the painting, and I for one will be gutted to see it go.”

Mr Miller, 34, who has done other graffiti work such as a Leeds United piece at Hungry Harry’s restaurant on York Road, was paid by the homeowner to put up the art and says he even had the blessing of some local police officers.

He said: “I understood that you could do what you wanted with your own home.

“All the children were asking what it was going to be.

“Most adults who are walking by also said it was really good.”

Mr Miller hopes that the petition will mean the request to remove it is overturned.

A Leeds City Council spokeswoman said: “The council has received complaints from residents through local councillors who consider the graffiti on this path-side, gable-end property an eye-sore for a residential street, as well as being anti-social and offensive, particularly given the image of a decapitated person.

“While we understand that art can evoke many different responses and one person’s eyesore can be another person’s masterpiece, in this case we have to take on board the thoughts and concerns of the local community.

“In line with other such instances across the city, the council has therefore contacted the owner and occupiers to ask that the graffiti be removed or risk legal action to enforce its removal.”

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