Made famous by a Bristolian named Banksy and with works fetching hundreds of thousands at auction, street art is no longer the reserve of hooded youths spray painting their names on the sides of phone boxes
Street artists are increasingly in demand for commisioned works that can transform crumbling urban spaces into places of interest – and Chesterfield is no exception.
Murals have been popping up across the town for years, thanks to the work of artist and former Chesterfield College student, Peter Barber.
His latest work, a nostalgic scene painted on the side of a business on New Beetwell Street, has been turning heads and setting tongues wagging.
“It has certainly been attracting customers” said Daniella Marchetta, manager of Home and Furniture, who commissioned the piece.
“He has done a lot of work around Chesterfield, but I still think the town would benefit from more street art.”
Peter – who co-created Britain’s biggest mural in Birmingham – has been contracted to paint everything from a French châteaux, to Damon Albarn’s recording studio in London.
In Chesterfield, where he lives with his wife and family, Peter met Olympic golden girl, Jess Ennis when he painted a mural of her at the college in December.
“I do everything from commercial stuff, like businesses, to interiors, bedrooms and work in the community” said Pete. “I run the Graffiti Academy in Chesterfield where I work with kids who might be having trouble at school. But the graffiti is a hook. It’s more about transferable skills; how to present yourself, and how to push yourself to do what you really want to do.”
And Pete is quick to point out that all of his work is approved beforehand. “I have four kids to feed” laughed the 29-year-old. “Everything I do is professional and I get all the necessary planning permission to do it.”
“I think street art has moved on so much from being associated with vandalism. I think that argument has been won. You see street art, from people like Banksy, in all the most important galleries in the world.
“While I am working I get people shouting ‘Oi Banksy, you missed abit’. It’s everywhere now.”
In the town, his work can be seen on businesses on Chatsworth Road, in Queen’s Park, and inside Chesterfield college, where he is currently working on a piece as part of the first floor restaurant renovation.
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To find out more about Peter Barber’s work, visit www.peterbarber.co.uk