claire rye community artist feature

Claire Rye On A Mission To Brighten Our Cities



Claire Rye trained in fine art sculpture at Manchester Metropolitan University and has been a graffiti writer and artist for almost twenty years.  Claire Rye is currently having fun in New Zealand.  Her company Paint My Panda operates from there and in the UK.

Claire Rye set up Paint My Panda nine years ago.  It is a community arts organisation that offers visual arts projects and workshops to a diverse range of groups including the elderly and special needs.  They specialise in youth engagement projects focusing on the positive side of graffiti art.  Claire Rye and Paint My Panda also offer logo design, customisation and graffiti parties as well as private or public commissions for murals, canvases and live events.  Previous clients have included PlayStation, The Dogs Trust and Eastpak.

What Are You Up To At The Moment?

I am in New Zealand.  I went there in 2012 and fell in love with the country and the Maori’s art work.  I am currently the Project Manager at Newtown school OSCAR (out of school) programme and working freelance on various projects in New Zealand.  I am also working as an Aviator at Zealandia where I feed the native birds while learning about New Zealand’s conservation issues.



Which Artist Would Like To Have A Chin Wag With…

Walter Kershaw, the northern mural artist.  The scale of his work is immense and they are beautiful, I’d like to know more about his work and how he got to paint so big.  Also Richard “Popz” Baker, he’s a graffiti artist from Nottingham who now lives in New Zealand and produces large beautiful murals.  I love his message he’s amazingly positive.

…And Which Non – Living Artist?

Dondi White graffiti master.  I just love his style and he seemed like such a nice mellow person.  I’d also like to have met Franz Marc the German expressionist.  His animal paintings are great. I’d love to get some of his techniques.

If You Could Show Your Work Anywhere, On Anything Where Would It Be & Why?

Well I was part of a show in New York with Girls On Top crew in 2013 and that was pretty much a dream come true, we met lots of the early pioneers of subway graffiti and painted at the legendary 5Pointz… for the future it’s travel plans and seeing as much of this beautiful planet as possible, I hope to work in as many countries as possible and take part in projects or shows there New Zealand, Australia, Canada, Iceland, Costa Rica or Borneo… there are so many places that inspire me and so many different ways of living to engage with, I’d love to leave murals or art in all these places!


What’s In Your Art Kit?

Spray Paint, paint pens, airbrush, acrylics, glaze medium, Pebeo Glass Paints, all sorts of books and I can’t live without computers and my big table.

Are There Any Art Materials You Would Like To Try?

I’d like to have the time and patience for oils.  I love the light you see with oils and I am a fan of Turner’s skies especially.

Claire Rye’s Best Piece Of Advice?

If someone wants to buy your painting just sell it and make another better one. Don’t get too bogged down in prices. This is good advice and has taught me not to get too attached to my work. I have kept about two of my paintings.

Most Notable Achievement To Date? Favourite Project?

I’m just happy that I have stayed in work for 8 years as an artist and not had to take a day job! I have worked for great charities such as the Dogs Trust and had the privilege of working with so many great and fun people in my community projects. I really do enjoy that. I am really pleased with my hand painted stained glass windows for the Elmbridge Community Hub and my glass brick projects below that were funded by the RC Sheriff Trust. Just getting to paint and create for a living is amazing to be honest. We also made a good attempt at the GWR in march for largest mural by a team, at Leake Street in Waterloo we painted 1800sqm in 6 hours… we are still waiting for confirmation. Getting to show a piece at the V&A was also pretty great for me.


Use Pebeo Glass Paints to create stained glass effects.

I’d love to paint a whole building and have creative reign, I have painted a few double decker buses which were great fun too, a plane would be nice also ha-ha!

New Zealand Airlines Watch Out!

Favourite Pullingers Product?

Posca Pens and Molotow Markers I clean you out all the time!   Also Liquitex Pouring Medium, it’s great for creating a glass like layer on top of canvas.

Yes you do and we thank you!

Claire Rye Says,

Work hard and it will somehow pay off whatever your style or expertise. Be yourself.

Thanks Claire and I hope you get a chance to have a cold one with Richard “Popz” Baker and paint a plane in New Zealand!


claire rye flowers


Get in touch with Claire Rye at Paint My Panda

Read about Claire Rye and Girls On Top at the Leake St Tunnel here.

Fancy trying your hand at Graffiti writing, glass painting or mural painting? Join Claire Rye in her mission to brighten up our cities.

Find Spray Paints, Paint Pens, Glass Paints and other Art Supplies with Pullingers online.


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