Hillary Clinton mural
A man poses for a photograph in front of a mural of Hillary Clinton clad in a swimsuit bearing the colours of the US flag in West Footscray in Melbourne Getty

An Australian graffiti artist who was threatened with a fine and possible prosecution if he didn't remove his "offensive" mural featuring US presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton wearing a swimsuit has responded by changing it so she's wearing a niqab.

Melbourne-based street artist Lushsux painted the work on the side of a building in Footscray, Victoria, featuring the "near naked" Democratic presidential candidate with dollar bills stuffed into her outfit.

However, the piece was described as offensive by the local Maribyrnong council, not on the basis of disrespect to Clinton, but because of the depiction of near naked woman, in accordance with the Graffiti Prevention act 2007.

A Maribyrnong council spokesperson said: "We have asked Footscray VicPol to urgently provide us their opinion on its offensiveness and we intend to issue a Notice to remove.

"This will require the owner of the property to remove the mural within 10 days. We have spoken to the owner of the property who has the right to appeal."

As well as the threat from the council, Lushsux's Instagram page was taken down "due to censorship" after he posted an image of the Clinton mural. The artist has since created a second one where he has continued to upload photos of his work.

Rather than removing the painting, Lushsux decided to alter it so Clinton wore a niqab, covering everything but her eyes. In a statement via his new Instagram, Lushsux said: "This is no longer a wall of a supposed 'offensive and near naked' Hillary Clinton, it is now a depiction of a beautiful Muslim woman. No reasonable person would consider this offensive. If you do consider it offensive you are a sexist, racist, islamophobic, xenophobic, uncultured and ignorant bigot."

The updated mural didn't last long, as Lushsux soon uploaded a second picture where the piece once was being completely covered with black paint.

This is not the first time the artist has altered his work based on people involved in the US presidential campaign. Lushsux also covered up the explicit part of a naked mural of Donald Trump – based on the pastel piece Make America Great Again by Los Angeles-based artist Illma Gore – with Clinton's face.

I don't know if I made it more offensive or less?

A photo posted by Lushsux (@lushsux2) on

He also covered up a topless painting of Trump's wife Melania. Lushsux said: "Some people found [the work] offensive so I decided if government etc wants to censor me for 'offensive' stuff I'll just censor myself instead."