Stevenage’s Banksy appeals for help in turning underpasses into public art galleries

Artist Mark Tanti has brightened up the underpass near Asda in Stevenage with some large murals, inc

Artist Mark Tanti has brightened up the underpass near Asda in Stevenage with some large murals, including depictions of Disney's The Sword in the Stone. Picture: Courtesy of Hertfordshire County Council - Credit: Archant

A graffiti artist determined to turn a town’s dreary underpasses into public art galleries is appealing for people to support his community project.

Mark Tanti – dubbed the Banksy of Stevenage – is the artist behind the imaginative murals in the underpass near Asda on Stevenage’s Monkswood Way, which draw inspiration from the 1963 Disney classic The Sword in the Stone, and the 1988 dinosaur animation The Land Before Time.

The murals are part of a Hertfordshire County Council project to make cycling and walking in the county more attractive options for people, and the highways team has painted over the new designs with a clear graffiti-proof covering to help keep them in good condition.

The new artwork has received a positive response from people living in the town and now Mark, who lives in Stevenage and set up his graffiti art company Demograffix in 2007, is keen to paint as many murals as possible in Stevenage, and even intends to expand the initiative into other parts of Hertfordshire.

He has given his time for free and has so far self-funded the materials, but he is now appealing for financial help to enable him to continue the project.

He said: “I’m doing these murals voluntarily and I’ve been using my own materials. Each spray can costs around £3.40 and each side of an underpass costs roughly £2,500 to paint.

“The aim is to paint more community murals around Stevenage and eventually move around Hertfordshire. It would be good to get funding so I can do more.” The scope for Mark’s work in Stevenage is vast, with a large number of underpasses in the town due to the substantial cycleway network, and he firmly believes brightening up the underpasses will help improve people’s mental health and enrich their lives, as well as support the local economy by attracting people to the town.

Mark, who has a degree in public and community art, was a Digswell artist at Fairlands Farmhouse in Fairlands Valley Park, and is now a member of the Stevenage Arts Society and Herts Visual Arts. To support his community project and make a donation, visit more about Mark’s community work, follow his Demograffix Facebook page.