Artist behind Shane Warne mural left gutted after facing criminal charges

Artist behind Shane Warne mural left gutted after facing criminal charges
Brendan Rees

An artist charged with vandalism after painting a mural in Carlton in tribute to the late cricketing legend Shane Warne says he has been left shattered.

Jarrod Grech spent 30 hours creating his mural in honour of his sporting hero, which is situated on a brick wall of an abandoned home in Canning St.

“I thought everyone could appreciate it and they could see it’s a genuine tribute. It’s not just for me, it’s for the community,” he told Inner City News.

“When people walk past and they talk to me, which is the best part, it makes people smile; honestly it brings joy to 99 per cent of people in the community.”

He said he had previously painted on the wall and didn’t think it would be an issue.

That was until police officers pulled up in a patrol car and spoke with the 34-year-old about his work, but to Mr Grech’s relief he was initially told, “you’ll probably never hear from us again”.

However, he was later hauled in for an interview before receiving a summons in the mail which contained criminal damage charges against him.

Mr Grech described it as an “absolute waste” of police and the court’s time, adding “I think they’re trying to use me as a scapegoat to say they’re doing something.”

“I’ve painted on the wall before, I’m not hiding it. I signed my name there. It’s not like I’m running around tagging.”

“It was pretty disappointing; it’s put me off painting.”

Mr Grech, who by day is an electrician, said he had tried to capture the “charisma and fun nature” of Warne – with Warne’s children and ex-wife all contacting him to say they supported his mural.

Mr Grech said he had hoped his mural would inspire youths and prevent them recklessly vandalising walls as the City of Melbourne battled a surge in graffiti.

He said the Canning St wall was a hotspot for taggers but since his work had gone up, it had been left alone. 

Mr Grech said he had tried to speak with the owner of the property, but no one was home with the windows were boarded up.

Melbourne artist Adrian Doyle threw his support behind Mr Grech, saying he “certainly doesn’t deserve to get into trouble”.

“He didn’t hurt anyone by doing that, Melbourne’s definitely a better place for having this artist,” he said.

“He wrote his full name, it’s not like he was trying to hide it. Worry about the people that are actually scary, running around the street and abusing tourists and [who] are on drugs and being unpredictable.”

Others took to social media to say, “what a waste of time” and “should be more of yours and less of the scribble that’s around.”

“As an ex-copper, I would have never charged you,” another wrote.

Victoria Police said a Mernda man has been summonsed to appear at the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court on October 26 for one count of criminal damage. •


Caption: Jarrod Grech with his mural in Canning St, Carlton. Image: Instagram.

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