NEW England MP Barnaby Joyce has slammed the "so-called artist" behind a controversial mural which has been slapped on a laneway wall near an Armidale hotel.
Guerrilla mural artist Scott Marsh is behind the politically charged work in the Armidale CBD and admitted to the Leader he'd falsely claimed Armidale Regional Council had paid for the mural on social media.
He described the gambit as a "classic stitch up".
"I think hopefully it starts a bit of a conversation in Armidale, which I think it already has," he said.
"It's fun to bring this stuff to areas where they don't really get murals like this or controversial forms of art very often. And they can either clutch their pearls or get behind it, depending on their persuasions."
Armidale mayor Sam Copeland confirmed the council had nothing to do with the artwork.
"If it were an actual mural, it would require a DA as it's in a heritage area, and there was no DA put in," he said.
"It's likely to come down in the next shower of rain.
"We certainly didn't commission it."
Armidale residents awoke to discover the mural glued to the side of a brick building neighbouring the city's Imperial Hotel.
Portraying the former Deputy Prime Minister, it shows the prominent Nationals MP being breastfed by coal magnate Gina Reinhardt.
Mr Joyce said the "so-called artwork" was not the way to make a point.
"It comes as no surprise that the person attempting to bring down those whose job it is to look out for regional Australians - resides in our nation's biggest city, almost 500 kilometres away from Armidale," he said.
He also criticised the artist for gluing profane stickers in the streets of Armidale.
"At the end of the day I don't care what people say about me but if you're posting it up and down the main street at least watch your profanity for the sake of people who must look it at," he said.
"I would like to thank Armidale Regional Council and local police for dealing with this matter."
Mr Marsh said it was his first work in the regional centre.
"I think there's a strong feeling amongst Australians that money in politics is a bit of a problem and that we need a strong Independent Commission Again Corruption, I guess particularly as it pertains to energy policy and the climate wars," he said.
"I think Barnaby and Gina are a pretty good example of that."
The mural is a mix of painted and printed materials, with some elements glued on, so it could be installed quickly, Mr Marsh said.
Described on his website as "one of Australia's most iconic and infamous street artists", "with a deep history in graffiti culture". He has been a finalist in both the Moran Portrait Prize and Archibald Prize.
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