Mystery of Malvern's 'Banksy is solved as pair reveal their identities

Tewkesbury Admag: John Anyon        10/3/14                  11145407

Banksy style graffiti in the bus shelter in Malvern town centre by entrance to Rose Bank Gardens (4496765) John Anyon 10/3/14 11145407 Banksy style graffiti in the bus shelter in Malvern town centre by entrance to Rose Bank Gardens (4496765)

THE mystery of who created the Banksy-style Edward Elgar street art has been solved and their already popular work looks set to stay.

Lee Morris and Tom Brown originally intended their four images of the classical composer on the Wells Road bus shelter beneath the Rosebank Gardens in the Centre of Great Malvern to be a one-off anonymous gift to the town.

But after a flurry of warm and welcoming feedback following their mysterious artwork appeared in the early hours of Sunday, the creative pair, both 34, have revealed their identities.

Following discussions with Malvern Town Council, who own the shelter, steps are being taken to secure the framed paintings to prevent them from being removed.

Mr Morris, who is a fine art printer, said: "I wanted to do a design that was going to be good for the community - what people would want and what symbolises Malvern. Edward Elgar is just that.

"I walk past that bus stop twice a day and I was looking at those three recesses and thought there just needs to be a picture on each of the alcoves. It's a blank canvass."

A spokesman for the town council confirmed the work was not commissioned but "in view of the positive response to this artwork" they might consider using some of the pair's work at other sites in the town.

"Both Mr Morris and Mr Brown said that they would like to issue an apology for not seeking approval from the council before putting the artwork in place and also added that they do not condone any form of unauthorised public graffiti."

He added: "Malvern Town Council will now consider adopting the artwork and the council has been urged by a number of Malvern residents to allow it to remain."

More than 100 hours of work went into producing the images which find Sir Edward nonchalantly standing next to the phone box holding a green smartphone in his hands along with three canvases depicting him waiting for a bus in bright and bold colours.

Mr Morris describes the public's reaction as "surreal" and now intends to sell the original artworks and put the money into the town's art community, while welcoming suggestions for future work.

Cllr Peter Smith, who represents the town council in the Priory ward, is proposing display cases are placed in bus stop's three arches to house artwork in a bid to respond to public support as well as improving the Victorian structure.

Cllr Smith said: "I have no criticism of the artists who have come up with an innovative idea presented in a civilised manner.

"Elgar would have approved of the mildly subversive prank or 'jape' as he would have called it. He for one knew about blinkered opinions and the energy sapping effect of bureaucracy."

For more information about the pair's work, go to weloveart.co.uk or e-mail hello@weloveart.co.uk.

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