Artist Rich Thorne aka Richt, returns to his hometown of Barnstaple, North Devon England; for his latest on street project and educational program.
The project initiated by Barnstaple Town council, pulls together iconic references from the area and surrounding natural land. Spearheaded by local councillor Ricky Knight, the mural has been in development for the past 18 months and will be the ﬁrst mural in the town. An environmental advocate, UN award recipient and local teacher for over 30 years, Ricky speaks of his pride in supporting the importance of art in the area;
“There is a historic cultural tradition here in Barnstaple, from the poet John Gay to the Queen’s Theatre, a legacy wholeheartedly supported by the community. It is such a pleasure to have Richt, who was born and brought up here, return for Barnstaple’s ﬁrst mural; an integral part of our rejuvenation and regeneration of the town centre in welcoming new visitors.” ~ Ricky Knight
While the mural engages visitors old and new, the project most notably teams up with the North Devon Biosphere and UNESCO for an SDG (Sustainable Development Goals) aligned worksop for young people. Richt together with childhood friend and local teacher Robbie Keast, consider the fragile and spectacular natural beauty of the region coordinating visits to the mural and in person sessions with the children. Providing over 200 worksheets across 6 primary schools, they encourage important conversations around culture and sustainable attitudes. The most engaged drawings with the SDG themes will win a special prize, with Richt and fellow creative Ricky Martin, (Art Ninja – CBBC) returning to present it.
“Returning to my home town to engage young people through art feels very signiﬁcant to me. Knowing how important the seaside and surrounding nature is, I hope this new mural can bridge a local conversation on the value of art in inspiring positive action and attitudes.” ~ Rich Thorne (Richt)
As a UNESCO world heritage site North Devon has biosphere status, a category reserved for places of great natural beauty, where diﬀerent industries learn from one another to develop strategies for how humans and nature can interact more sustainably. North Devon was the ﬁrst UK UNESCO Biosphere Reserve because of its unique ecosystem of nature and wildlife.
“Art in the public realm is a great way to not only brighten a location but create a statement about our community. Having a mural that showcases the values we have as a community in a UNESCO biosphere is a great conversation starter. Working with primary schools means we are having that conversation with the people who will inherit whatever we leave behind. We need more of this” ~ Andy Bell UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve Coordinator
Rich Thorne is a multidisciplinary British Artist based in Bristol, UK. Emerging from the UK Graﬃti scene, ’Richt’ has been exploring creativity through original work, design, animation and on street pieces for the past 20 years. Projects range from Academy Award winning ﬁlm studio Aardman Animations, to global powerhouse Vans. The artist also considers a social responsibility to young people, hosting talks and workshops in schools and with youth groups across the world.
With a ‘feast or famine’ approach to colour, the aesthetic shifts between monochromatic minimalism to vivid saturation. Through his compositions, the movement and memory of graﬃti culture is reimagined through a contemporary lens. Solo exhibitions include Barcelona, Amsterdam and London with public art projects and commissions from Eastern Europe and Northern Asia to the USA. His latest project launches in June 2022 with Urban Nation, the worlds ﬁrst museum dedicated to artists emerging from graﬃti culture.
Photo Credits: Rob Tibbles, Tom Ham, Hanna Söderholm
Scroll down below for more photos of the project.