An artist accused of rape has allegedly been creating art in Katoomba at night which locals are tagging over with the words 'you're not welcome here'.
The artist, Anthony Lister, 40, who some regard as Australia's answer to British street artist Banksy, is believed by the local artists to be behind the illegal 3m x 3m large mural on a heritage shed in Katoomba's Street Art Walk on Waratah Street made on Saturday, July 4.
Lister faces serious charges before the courts for allegedly drugging and sexually assaulting several young woman, even allegedly tattooing one of the women without consent.
In response to the mural, local graffiti artists have twice tagged the artwork with the words "you're not welcome here" and mentioned his alleged crimes. It has since been painted over on the orders of council.
One of the artists, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said all the street artists didn't want him "having that influence" in the area.
He said he knew one of the alleged victims. "It's happened 250 metres from the police station."
"We saw it and thought, that's bullshit, we can't let him have that space, that influence, so then [when the mural was painted for the second time after it was tagged] another artist went and defaced it too."
Mountains Youth Services Team manager Kim Scanlon, who looks after applications for the Street Art Mural Australia (SAMA) site said the unauthorised mural turned up and they checked applications for the site.
"There were tags around it saying 'we don't want this here' and through the tags [SAMA coordinator] Roman Hoffman came to believe it was Anthony Lister, he's found this guy's website and realised we didn't want that mural there."
She said the work was "happening at night", as other artists have been working nearby during the day. "The wall is heritage-listed. It's a shame it ends up tagged."
The site is managed by Blue Mountains Cultural Centre in partnership with MYST. The centre's director Paul Brinkman said the work was removed "as soon as possible" - five days after it initially appeared. Mr Brinkman said MYST and council had a small budget for the laneway street art gallery space to paint over unauthorised works. He had not informed police and would not be seeking compensation.
"There's no guarantee it's him," he said. "We are not really interested in the work that has gone up, it's unauthorised and in respect to the owners ... as soon as we realised we painted it over. It's illegal activity."
There are approved plans for another artwork on the shed doors. The area around it is heritage listed. Lister previously exhibited at the site when it opened in 2015. He has previously been charged in Queensland for unauthorised artworks and willful damage of a public space.
Police allege four different women, one a foreign national, aged between 18 and 19 at the time, were sexually assaulted by Lister on different occasions between 2015-2018 while intoxicated with drugs and alcohol. His matter was in court on July 9 and adjourned for a month while the Director of Public Prosecutions reviews the case. No pleas were required.
Bryan Wrench, Lister's lawyer, would not confirm bail conditions or where his client was residing.
He said his client had been the subject of "unjustified attacks on social media and death threats and is yet to see a trial, despite maintaining his innocence. We've made it pretty clear he's defending the charges."
Mr Wrench would not comment on any illegal artwork but said about the tagging: "I think it's vile if people are writing my client's name using the name rapist."