A Burton born artist who creates stunning murals on rundown basketball courts in a bid to inspire youngsters would love to bring his eye catching colourful work to his home town.

Gareth Roberts, 40, wants to bring his art vivid work called 'Project In The Paint' back to his hometown of Burton to highlight the joys of basketball by painting and commissioning artworks on courts. his work combines his passions for art and the sport of basketball.

He said he has always been artistically minded and has never looked back after his teachers in the town encouraged him to take up art.

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He said: "I am born and bred in Burton, living there for the first 20 years of my life. I was always artistically minded, I went to Paget High School and was well encouraged by my art teachers Ms Baines and Miss Hardingham.

"I took A-Level art then went to Burton College to study BTEC in graphic design. After going to University in Norwich, I became a graphic designer in London, where I have been for the past 17 years."

He said the basketball court art came about when he decided to combine his two loves and wanted to make the sport more accessible to the whole family.

He added: "I have two little girls Frida, seven, and Delphine, four and we went to a basketball court in the centre of London in 2017. I noticed that they are really underfunded and are a hub of anti-social behaviour.

"The councils are not investing in them and I had an idea of improving them. As an artist, I knew that bright colours would make them more eye-catching and this sparked an idea.

"I have played basketball since I was in school. The two things I did best were art and basketball so for me the project was going to combine a professional and personal interest."

A man and a woman painting
Gareth and his wife Holly

"The project as a whole offers public art opportunities to those who wouldn't have the chance otherwise.

"Basketball is the second most played sport in Britain yet the funding is not that great for it. It gets way less funding than something like rugby or cricket. I think the opinion is turning on it with the game being featured in the Olympics and the Commonwealth Games so this is a way of getting more people involved.

He said the basketball project then came about with him painting a court at Writtle University in Essex and two in London, before commissioning artist Coco Lom to paint his fourth in Islington teaming up with Pink Lady apples.

Gareth said: I always know what kind of art I want in my projects before I start them and this is no exception. It has to be bright, bold modern colours to contrast the grey concrete of the cities.

"Human nature is to be attracted to these big vibrant colours and I think it makes the courts more friendly. It is eye catching and it naturally brings more people in."

Artist Coco Lom, who worked on one of the courts in London, said that she wanted to give the court a 'playful' and 'colourful' look.

She said: "When we’re children our world is full of colour, but as we get older sadly we often lose this playful and colourful side to life.

A pink and blue court
The court in Islington painted by Coco Lom

"Colour has the power to affect our mind, body and happiness, and can trigger different moods and emotions. I hope the court will bring joy to people of all ages in the community, plus there’s never been a more important time for colour to inspire us to move our bodies."

Gareth now says that he wants to bring the project to the Midlands and would love to do a basketball court in his hometown of Burton.

He added: "I would absolutely love to do one in Burton. Particularly Shobnall playing field as that is where I used to play basketball. I met some good friends there who I still speak to.

"It would be great to come back to Burton and do one there. I'd also be interested in doing one in Birmingham ahead of the Commonwealth Games.

"I am really pleased as to how the project has turned out so far and I am looking forward to where it goes next. People really love the colours.

"If I could have one in every major town and city in the UK that would be the dream. I have spoken to a lot of street artists who are keen."

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