A NEW art event has popped up in the city.

The Northern Paint Fest, by art collective Blank Wall Assassins, has kicked off at Tribe Carlisle in Bitts Park.

The festival involves artists painting on huge canvases of their own, each bringing their unique style and vision to the city.

Ben Heslop, who owns the Blank Wall Assassins brand, has facilitated public works of art from some of the world’s leading street artists.

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Teaming up with Anna Chippendale in 2020, Blank Wall Assassins has linked both existing artworks with new ones that have received recognition on a global scale through an interactive trail.

The five-day Northern Paint Fest runs from June 22 to 26. During this time, people visiting Tribe Carlisle will see nine local, national, and international artists painting live, to be soundtracked by DJs and musicians from a variety of genres.

The event is said to create a platform to further put the city firmly on the global street art map.

On the launch day, there were still several blank canvases awaiting 'assassination' by artists who would be arriving later that day, but the ongoing train strikes affected the event unexpectedly, as Ben explained: “The train strikes have been interesting, to say the least.

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“It was easier to get an artist over from Portugal than it was to get someone from London.”

Ben explained the Portuguese artist flew to Newcastle and was picked up; the London artist was still stranded down south at the time.

Before, and swiftly after, speaking with Ben, he was texting and making phone calls to try and get these artists up to display their work.

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The show must go on, however, and it’s something Ben feels passionate about: “I believe chances for people to engage with cultural experiences is really important.”

He added the art scene here can seem quite closed - but putting it in the public is more confronting.

Ben thanked Cumbria County Council, Travis Perkins Penrith, Peter Tyson, and Edge Timber Framing for helping.

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Florence Thornton, a 26-year-old University of Cumbria illustration student from France, was busy painting what will eventually become an otter: “I saw a couple here on the river Eden.

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“They’re an endangered species,” she explained, as her inspiration comes from nature and the environment – conservation is therefore a personal interest.

“It’s a massive opportunity, it’s great to be able to experiment.”

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