Malmesbury mock shop signs 'offensive'

Graffiti art in Malmesbury
Graffiti art in Malmesbury
Graffiti art in Malmesbury
Image caption A local councillor claims the signs are "offensive" and give the "wrong message about the town"
Image caption Local artist Luke Hollington says the signs are "making a point" and people have seen the humour behind the artwork

Street art poking fun at failing high street retail chains has been described as offensive by a Wiltshire councillor.

Artist Luke Hollington, known as Syd, has hung spoof signs above empty shop fronts in Malmesbury parodying the logos of failing high street brands.

The painted shop hoardings include 'Vomit' instead of Comet and 'Blockbust' instead of Blockbusters.

Councillor Simon Killane said the signs gave the "wrong message about the town".

'Wrong message'

According to Mr Killane, the small market town is "struggling" but has very few chain stores and more than 40 independent businesses.

"The message these signs are sending is that Malmesbury is sort of dead or dying, which is totally false," he said.

"We think our town has a future and putting pretty much offensive signs like 'Vomit' with a guy sort of splurging out on the sign - right next to a shop that is also struggling - it's giving the wrong message.

"Those empty shops, we should be promoting them by saying Malmesbury is a beautiful, busy and thriving town."

Mr Hollingworth said the installation was "making a point" about the town's once vibrant centre.

"The three brands Comet, Blockbuster and HMV - they've never featured on Malmesbury High Street but it really is a metaphor for the town at the moment," he said.

"I can't get my head around why we've not got the middle of the town and High Street sorted out and all these shops filled, when there's a lot of development on the outskirts being planned and debated."

'Bit of a laugh'

Despite receiving a "number of emails of support" and suggested shop names, Mr Hollingworth said he has no plans for further mock shop signs.

"These are all people who have seen the humour behind the artwork," he said.

"And I actually think it's a good reflection on the Malmesbury community that generally they have a sense of humour and a bit of a laugh.

"I've got plans to do more street art but as for this installation - it's only going to be the three."

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