A street artist inspired by Banksy will be passing on his skills to Tamworth families at urban art workshops in the coming weeks, starting from Today.
Steve Edwards will be teaching youngsters and their parents the techniques how to create top class street art – like the internationally renowned secretive artist – at Ankerside Shopping Centre.
The busy shopping mall will turn into a Friday fun-day zone for the classes. Bowling, arcade games and a disco will be among the activities on offer each week from today, Friday, July 25 and run until August 15.
An empty shop unit at the centre is being turned into an urban teen base, packed full of funky games aimed at parents and children, aged from early years through to 16.
The activities on offer include electronic basketball, racing simulators, table football, a bowling alley plus giant themed games. The event has been put together in conjunction with Namco Funscape at Strykers Bowling in Castle Grounds alongside Ankerside Shopping Centre.
The fabulous fun also includes sphero-electronic robotic racing balls – controlled remotely from smart phones through an obstacle course – plus a disco to round off the week.
In addition, each week the youngsters will be invited to take part in an art project picking up urban art skills with Steve. The artworks will go on show in the shop unit windows, so friends and family, along with shoppers, can admire the creations.
There will also be a competition to design a T shirt. At the end of the school holidays, the designs will be judged and the winner will see their artwork made into a T shirt.
Steve gained his art degree at Coventry School of Art but decided to make his living with his dad building block paving for homes and commercial properties. But after 15 years Steve was inspired by the success of international artist Banksy to leave the building sites behind and return to his first love – art.
“I carried on painting during the time I was doing brick paving, and focussed on patterns, but I realised that I still want to make it as an artist. My style is a mix of patterns with camouflage and graffiti,” – said Steve.
“I love what Banksy has been doing, and showing that street art is a serious form of art. I have been working with Wolverhampton Council, who have set aside a spot for me, plus with British Waterways, to dissuade people from vandalism alongside canals. I’ve recently painted a kingfisher and a robin at Fazeley , near Tamworth, plus I create wildlife artworks at country parks.
“I am now doing more work with schools, and with New Urban Era street art group in Tamworth, which is working with Ankerside on this summer project.
“I will be showing the children – and their parents – the different techniques involved, but I won’t be foisting my ideas on them. It’s about bringing out what they want to do: everybody is different and can create different images.
“Plus I’ll talking to them about the legal side, where they can paint, and raising the issue of vandalism – they don’t have the right to paint what they want, anywhere,” added the 39-year-old from Wolverhampton.
Ankerside Shopping Centre Manager Pete Barber said: “The summer holidays are here and we wanted to make sure that youngsters didn’t get bored. I know as a dad that it’s hard to find activities for children, especially older ones approaching their teenage years.
“So we’ve come up with a wide range of free, fun activities that should help keep them busy and burn off some energy, plus learn some new skills along the way. The activities will be targeted at different age groups to ensure everybody has a great time.
“The drop-in sessions are open to everybody, and we know will be popular with adults just as much as youngsters – though parents have to be accompanied by their children!”
The activities take place July 25, August 1, August 8 and August 15 from 11am to 4pm. The sessions are free and are being run by Tamworth-based Flamingo Entertainments which is working with New Urban Era (NUE) community art group.
The group has just organised an urban art festival, with street artists, skate boarders, dancers and musicians, at Tamworth’s skate park and its dedicated site, under a flyover near the town’s Snowdome.
NUE organiser Vic Brown said: “We want to promote street art as a legitimate art form, one that people want to buy, whether it’s for their wall or a T-shirt. This is a great event that the team at Ankerside Shopping Centre has arranged, and there should be lots of activities for everybody to enjoy.”
Ankerside Shopping Centre, open daily, is home to 60 stores, from fashion, health and beauty to services and food and drink, and has more than 700 parking spaces. More details about the Friday Funday sessions at www.ankerside.co.uk
Namco Funscape Tamworthis the perfect destination for a family and friends day out. Its 26 Lane bowling alley is great for all abilities and ages with lighter balls, ramps and barriers all available. The soft play area is great for little ones to burn off some of that extra energy in a safe, controlled environment. More details at www.namcofunscape.com
Some of the artworks created by Steve Edwards: