Stop by the intriguing mural now opposite Chipping Norton Town Hall – and spot all the things you know and love about the Town – it has Bliss Mill, the Rollright Stones, a tribute to the NHS, and much more. Even the Chippy News is there. Ex-Chippy School’s Luke Embden found himself back here in Lockdown in March for his Dad Paul’s birthday. But lucky for us, Luke’s professional life, based in Berlin, includes doing international art commissions – often for street art – but with a portfolio including work for Covent Garden, Abbey Road studios and Carnaby Street, plus projects for the likes of Nike and Coca Cola. See www.lukeembden.co.uk
Luke contacted the Chippy News last month with his offer to give something back to the Town while spending time here, if we could find a suitable public space to start. Connecting him to arts enthusiast Town Councillor Georgia Mazower, then saw the Coop agree that their window in the empty Beales store could be a great start. Dave & Dave kindly cleaned the windows, the Town Council helped with materials – and Luke’s effort over 4 days was the result. He’s had lots of visitors stopping by!
Georgia hopes that this is a catalyst for other building owners to transform their windows and walls. And with many empty shops, perhaps this will get some momentum behind other initiatives to make the town attractive, open to innovation and different uses by the community bringing in new investors alongside our current hard-working businesses. Nationally, a new report ‘Build Back Better – the High Street’ proposes local radical action. Perhaps there could be some here.
Post script: Another bonus was Luke connecting with his parents’ new Chippy neighbour Andrew Olgilvy. As a professional photographer, Andrew works with portraiture, events, corporate headshots, product, film/TV, architecture and interiors. His work has been used and featured in Country Life, Forbes, the V&A, the British Museum, and Blenheim Palace. See www.AndrewOgilvy.com