15 Minutes With… Street Artist, Steve McCracken
One Magazine’s Bruce Hetherington uncovers how the wreckage of the 2007 Napoli incident inspired street art across Devon.
When the battered MSC Napoli was deliberately run aground a mile off Lyme Bay in January 2007 to avoid it breaking up in the heavy seas, artist Steve McCracken was an art student in Bath missing the surf and his hometown of Sidmouth.
“My father called and told me I had to get down,” he says. “When I saw the shipwreck, and then the looting of the containers on the beach I was horrified.”
McCracken is a nature lover, and you can see this in his street art that has been popping up in the area. Striking stylised kingfishers, seagulls, and various other birds that fleetingly appear on street sides and boarded shopfronts.
“Back then after the looting I saw a story in the local paper that said the Donkey Sanctuary had opened one of its barns, and issued an invitation to all the looters,” he explains. “The looted goods belong to someone else. Bring them back, we’re not looking, drop them in the barn, and we will make sure they are returned to their rightful owners.”
In the first story there was a photo of an empty barn waiting to take receipt of the looted goods. A week later McCracken picked up the next issue of the paper, and there was a second photo of the barn – still empty. Nothing had been returned.
“It felt like such a vacuum of decency” he says and at the time he painted a naïve childlike representation of a barn, with various phrases ‘NOTHING LEFT’, ‘NOTHING RETURNED’, with arrows from the phrase to the barn, and one phrase ‘NONE HERE’ he put in a box and drew an arrow from the box to the barn.
Over the next decade McCracken graduated from art school to the bustle and vibe of the London street scene where he made his name. He found the NONE HERE box cropping up over and over in his art. It became his moniker.
“I was trying to reclaim that emptiness, with something positive – what if I could make that NONE HERE an inspiration to those who might be feeling life was going nowhere – by attaching it to something beautiful and free?”
If you have seen his street art you will agree, this young artist has done just that.
Steve McCracken is currently in residence in the Guildhall in Exeter and you are welcome to pop in – his studio is located in the old hair salon on the top floor. Find out more at www.stevemccrackenart.com
See more like this
This manageable there and back route offers easy walking and wheeling along the eastern side of the reservoir and to the dams, plus additional access to the wildlife trail in the Burrator Arboretum