Kids with spray paint transforming Doncaster

They’ve already transformed one corner of Doncaster.

Thursday, 14th March 2019, 3:03 pm
Updated Monday, 20th May 2019, 5:41 pm
Ian Byatt, Project Manager and Aaron Jack, Technical Manager, pictured outside Askern Boathouse. Picture: Marie Caley NDFP-09-03-19-Boathouse-3
Ian Byatt, Project Manager and Aaron Jack, Technical Manager, pictured outside Askern Boathouse. Picture: Marie Caley NDFP-09-03-19-Boathouse-3

Now it has been suggested enthusiastic youngsters with cans of spray paint could now transform shop fronts in one of Doncaster’s biggest towns.

When they wanted to spruce up the boat shed at Askern Lake, Askern Town Council approached pals Ian Byatt and Aaron Jack – whose Breaking Beats project involves teaching street art to youngsters.

Around 40 youngsters signed up to join the project – and now the boat sheds boast a colourful selection of pictures depicting a fish, a swan, the Tour de Yorkshire, dragonflies and butterflies.

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The project has been well received from the town council, which has now raised the idea of getting more designs.

Mayor of Askern Francis Jackson said: “We’ve got the Tour de Yorkshire coming through the town on May 2. We’ll be working with Doncaster Council to put bunting and banners out.

“Because a lot the the business premises now have shutters on them, we’ve spoken about potentially approaching business owners about the street art people doing something on them.

“For instance, bakers could have pictures of cakes and bread, spectacles on an optician’s.

“It would be another opportunity for the kids, and I think if the kids are involved, they will keep and eye out to look after them. To me, it would smarted the town up.”

Nothing will be done unless permission if given by the businesses, and unless a grant is available.

Ian Byatt, aged 49, who lives in Askern himself, set up the street art project with Aaron Jack, from Bennetthorpe, and the Doncaster street artist Kosy, Darren ‘Daz’ Cunningham, from Balby. But Darren died tragically in a car accident on Carr House Road.

Ian used to run Rhythm National Records in Doncaster town centre, until it closed in 2009. After that he worked as a DJ, and he and Aaron set up Breaking Beats with Daz.

He said: “I had been doing freelance work teaching DJing. We set up on our own, because we felt we knew how the kids responded and wanted to do things our way.

“We started doing the street art with Daz. He was a talented artist, but he died in 2016.

“We tried to carry on after that, and we were not bad at running the courses.

“We did a project with some kids at Waterdale as our first one, which was a tribute to Daz. We also did one at Tom Hill.

“It is difficult to get commissions, The work tends to get done on boards, or on shrink-wrap film that we wrap between a couple of trees in a park. You can then cut it down and take it away with you, wrapped up in a bin bag. We did that.

"We were excited to get the commission in Askern, but also a bit worried about how people were going to react. Street art is sometimes misunderstood.

“We got a grant from the South Yorkshire Community Fund.

“They ran sessions at Alexander House, on Askern High Street, to design the pictures and show the youngsters who to use the paint. The youngsters created the designs.”

A street artist called Craig Hoyle was also asked to get involved, and filled in some of the detail on the works, such as work to create a 3D effect and details on pictures of eyes.

He stressed it was all done in a controlled environment with health and safety procedures in place, and making sure that nothing got sprayed that should not be.

“The shutters in Askern have been discussed,” he said. “But we’d have to sit down and talk about it.

“We feel that with the kids, creativity breeds creativity.

“They just pick it up. Without doubt there are some talented kids taking part. A lot of them are good at drawing, and this is just on a bigger scale.

“The boat sheds have been a great project from start to finish.

"Daz has been our inspiration throughout.”