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Claire Rye

OTA, New Zealand

I am a degree educated fine artist, I graduated from Manchester Metropolitan University in 2001 and did my Foundation Studies at Wimbledon School of Art. I am also a youth worker. I moved to Aotearoa/NZ in 2014 and am now a resident. Currently I work for Stopping Violence Dunedin and run different art projects with school groups and young people.
The majority of my projects are community engagement projects which explore ways of giving ownership of a space to young people, developing their sense of identity, developing skills or assisting different community groups to create public artwork around a chosen theme. I run have run accredited projects resulting in AQA’s and Arts Awards (in the UK) for participants.
Some of my groups have behavioral issues at school, have been excluded are in residential care or are young offenders. These groups can be hard to engage with in many ways, but I find they are usually very excited and engage well with group mural projects, especially where spray cans are involved!
I have been working with spray paint since the late 1990’s. Spray paint is a useful tool as it covers a lot of space quickly and you can get great effects in a short time, I still enjoying using brushes though and most of my murals will use both elements.
I am a bit of a nature geek. I do regular work as a conservation volunteer whenever I can. In 2014 I worked as a Volunteer Officer for The Conservation Volunteers in Richmond and Hounslow and helped the South West London Environment Network. I recently volunteered for Zealandia Ecosanctuary for 2 years feeding the native birds, and learnt more about New Zealand’s conservation issues.
The panda motif seen in many of my walls (pre 2014) is, for me a symbol of conservation, riffing off the World Wildlife Fund logo that is so iconic. Since moving to New Zealand I have been captivated by the bird life here and the efforts that are made to protect it and to improve native bird populations.
In 2000 a friend and I started GOT crew, an all girl graffiti collective, to help redress the gender imbalance in graffiti and street art that was prevalent at the time. As a collective we still work on shows, commissions and paint at festivals together. I have enjoyed working with a number of different artistic collectives ago the way, I enjoy the sociability of collectives and being exposed to new styles and ways of working.
Wescover creator since 2019

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