Aerosol artist helps to revamp Chineham skate park

Basingstoke Gazette: Lee Baker, of Idle Cans, has decorated Chineham Skate Park with graffiti Lee Baker, of Idle Cans, has decorated Chineham Skate Park with graffiti

AN AEROSOL artist, who once plagued the streets as part of a graffiti ‘crew’, has been working alongside Chineham Parish Council to improve a local skate park.

The £90,000 BMX park in Thornhill Way was officially opened in August last year after five years of planning – and now Lee Baker has put the finishing touches to the park by covering the ramps with stylish graffiti.

The 30-year-old, who grew up in Basingstoke, first tried his hand at the controversial street art 15 years ago when he was part of the notorious True Spin Crew.

But he became involved in the legal graffiti art scene in 2003 after he was found guilty of criminal damage and was ordered to do community service.

Now, he has set up a business, Idle Cans, with his partner Mari Asklund, and the pair are keen to give back to, and get involved with, the local community.

Lee said: “I’m really excited about the work we have done for the skate park – it should make a real difference to the place.”

Lee said he hopes the artwork, which is featured on the back and sides of the skate ramp, will add a little bit of colour to the lives of people who visit the park, adding: “I hope people feel happy when they see our work and that it’s something everyone in the area can enjoy.”

Mari, 26, said “Lee started as a teenager doing it illegally but now it’s been turned into a great business. He always tells kids who come to his workshops that it’s great to show your creativity but you have to do it legally.”

The couple, who live in the town centre, hope to make a success of the business, and Lee recently appeared at the Hampshire OctoberFest event, where he created a 16ft by 8ft graffiti mural live.

Mari said: “There was some really great feedback. It’s good to get out there and promote positive graffiti.”

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