Eye-catching new street art project being established in Swindon

By Jessica Durston - 11 July 2022

Arts and Culture

Residents of Rodbourne will see new life being brought to the streets by artists from the Redcliffe Collective, as they transform a local building with a new mural.

The Redcliffe Collective are revamping a building in Rodbourne with a street art mural piece

The brainchild of local woman Helen Salter, the Redcliffe Collective say they are seeking to brighten up the area, cover up the unsightly tagging in the area, and encourage locals to have more pride in their locality.

The first project they have taken on is revamping the side of a tailoring business on Redcliffe Street. This project will see the artists copying the arches on the old railway works, and filling them with a mixture of styles, using Rodbourne’s heritage as a theme.

Helen explained: “After first having the idea back in 2016 and speaking to people, it really got going as a concept over the lockdown, when people were spending more time at home and realised that we could make of the area.

"It is so great to see the artists bringing their ideas to life and covering up what was a drab wall of tags. We have been getting people offering more wall space to the group as they get behind the idea!”

A number of local artists have got involved including:

Artist Cello Assini said: "I was first involved in this project with another artist in 2021 it was originally pencilled in as a clean-up Rodbourne campaign after I first met with Jim Robbins and Helen Salter.

"It slowly evolved into a project incorporating Rodbourne's heritage and after several meetings, Steve Light came in and it's really taken off in the last week or so. We literally just got the green light and the momentum has been incredible. So many great local artists have got on board and it has been such a positive experience."

Swindon Borough Council Labour group leader, Cllr Jim Robbins, has been vocalising his support for the group.

He said: “It is brilliant to see local people transforming our local area like this. There has been an increase in tagging recently, and it is amazing to see some high-quality street art taking its place.

"The quality of the work is outstanding and the themes are great. Rodbourne has an amazing community spirit, and this sort of projects helps to bring people together. It has been great listening to the group set out plans for how they can develop and do more great work.”

The collective has permission to transform one of the Network Rail bridges over Rodbourne Road and is working on the logistics, to decorate the BT OpenReach street furniture if permission can be sought.

The group also have plans to work with the Heritage Action Zone around the Railway Village and the old Railway works, to help transform the area.

Artist Steve Light (Slart) said: "Participating in this project has given me a new lease of life! I am having a kidney transplant on the 22 July, so needless to say, it's been a rough year. I had a successful solo art exhibition in May at Artsite in Theatre Square and the mural was my next big project.

"It felt daunting at first, looking at this huge wall, it would be Swindon's biggest mural once completed. However, once local artist Cello and I got started on the arches, we asked other local artists to join us and all of sudden we had 10 artists involved and it was 90% completed within a week!

"The local response has been overwhelming and one local resident said "It's brilliant, better than a Banksy." It's inspiring to see all of this come into fruition, as Helen Salter and I had the same vision of transforming this wall, our paths crossed at the right time to make it happen."

In addition, they are keen to work with Even Swindon Primary School to get the pupils involved.

The Redcliffe Collective would like to hear from local people who want to get involved, offer wall space to the group, or suggest other ways to make Rodbourne a more exciting community.

Artist Harrie Dearing commented: "The collective is creating beautiful work together. Sharing art with our community, infusing the streets of Swindon with love and positivity. It's exciting to be part of an artist movement for meaningful social change.

"It's also a joy to have met so many talented artists through the project. The team have been so supportive of each other throughout the process, from sharing skills and materials to our admiration of each other's works. This is just the beginning of The Redcliffe Collective!"

Fellow artist Carly Byrne added: "I have always wanted to meet other artists and be a part of an art collective here in Swindon. So when I heard about the project I jumped at the chance to get involved.

"This project means the world to me because it's my opportunity to spread positivity and beauty into our community which brings joy to all. I hope my art brings sunshine into everyone's lives."

A link to the collective's Go Fund Me page can be found at www.rodbournestreetart.com 

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