About Claire

Claire Rye

My career so far..

I am a fine artist and mural painter, I took my Foundation Studies in Art and Design at Wimbledon School of Art. I graduated from Manchester Metropolitan University with a BA(hons) Fine Art Sculpture in 2001. I have followed a creative and community based career since 2005. In 2014 I moved to Aotearoa/NZ.  I work for Stopping Violence Dunedin running different art projects with school groups and young people. I am currently studying my Clinical Masters in Art Therapy at Whitecliffe College of Art and Design. 

A large percentage of my projects are community engagement projects which explore ways to give ownership of a space to young people, developing their sense of identity, skills or assisting different community groups to create public artwork around a chosen theme. I have run accredited projects resulting in AQA’s and Arts Awards (in the UK) for participants.

I paint my murals in exterior brush paint but sometimes I need to use spray paints too. I have been working with spray paint since the late 1990’s.  Spray paint is a useful tool as it covers a lot of space quickly and you can get great effects in a short time. Generally groups find brush paints easier to use, plus it is easier to recycle empty paint pots than spray cans. 

As a teenager I was a terrible skateboarder. I discovered graffiti in the  1990’s and  was excited to give it a go as I already loved art. In 2000 at art school, a friend and I started GOT crew, an all girl graffiti collective, to help redress the gender imbalance in graffiti art. The collective has grown since then. We still work on shows, commissions and paint festivals together. I have enjoyed working with a number of different artistic collectives throughout my career. I enjoy the sociability of collectives and being exposed to new styles and ways of working. This eventually led me to youth and community work after art school. I didn’t enjoy being on my own in a studio so community arts had much more appeal. 

The panda motif seen on many of my murals comes from my childhood, I loved pandas!. It is nostalgic for me to paint them in my work. It is also a symbol of conservation, drawing influence from the World Wildlife Fund panda logo which is so iconic. 

I like to do regular work as a conservation volunteer when I can. I worked as a Volunteer Officer for The Conservation Volunteers in Richmond and Hounslow and helped the South West London Environment Network. Since moving to Aotearoa I have been captivated by the bird life here and the efforts that are made to protect it and to improve native bird populations.  I volunteered for Zealandia Ecosanctuary for 2 years feeding the native birds, and learnt more about the local conservation issues.



-Give & Take, Morning Magpie, Dunedin, 2019

-Palette of Poetry, Resene Colorshop, Dunedin, 2018

-HWK Fundraiser, Kings High School, Dunedin, 2018

-Honey Badgers Do Dunedin, Kiki Beware & Daily Coffee, 2018

-The Big Hoot art trail, Auckland, 2018


-Super Kawaii. Matchbox Studios, Wellington, 2016

-Honey Badgers 2.0. Wellington, 2016


-Plantae group show. In Good Company, Wellington, 2015

-Fools and Horses group show. Copeland Gallery, London, 2014

-Femme Fierce. Cre-8 Gallery, London, 2014


-Girls On Top present Colours. Tower Gallery, Newcastle, 2013

-Mr Sheriffs Artists 20th Anniversary of RC Sherriff Trust. Robert Philips Gallery, Walton-Upon-Thames, 2013

-Type Tasting . A display of creative typography. V&A London, 2013

– Art House, Heatham House Summer Exhibition. Twickenham, 2013

-Girls On Top crew. Bob Bar, Eastside Manhattan, NYC,  2013

-Sweet Arts, Show 1, International Women’s day show. The Crypt Gallery, London, 2013

-26th Chamber opening show, Northampton, 2012

-Art House, Heatham House Summer Exhibition. Twickenham, 2012

-Girls On Top  “Sweet” jam (curator & artist) Heatham House, Twickenham. 2012

– Grufts at Graffik. A show of dog paintings. Portobello Rd, London, 2012

-Special Brews group show, The Boilerhouse, Cardiff, 2012


-Creative Minds Group Show. Kingston-Upon-Thames, 2011

-Street Sounds: Fresh Reunion, London, 2011.

-Art House, Heatham House Summer Exhibition. Twickenham, 2011

-Eurocultured X, Blank Space Manchester. 2011

-Hu-R-Yu group show. “Braille Graffiti”. The Hu-Man Gallery, Burnley, 2011

-Girls On Top group show. Lockside Lounge. Camden, London, 2011

-Wholetrain meets Combat Calligraphy, international show. CUC, Liverpool, 2010

-Hope Mill Open Studio, Manchester, 2010

-“Fab Fridge” magnetic street art. Bath, 2010


-Grenade Gallery, gallery opening show. Notting Hill, London, 2008

-“Let There Be Light”  6 month art residency. St Georges Church, Esher, Surrey 2008

-Girls On Top @ the Frisson Gallery, Canterbury  2008

-Writers Beyond the Wall part 2. The Arthouse, Southampton 2007

-Guerilla Zoo Hijacks the Toilet Gallery. Kingston-upon-Thames, Surrey 2007

-“Bustin’ Loose”, The Queen Boudicca, London EC1, 2007

-Writers Beyond the Wall. The Arthouse, Southampton, 2006

-“Journeys Beginning”  Brooklands Shopping Centre, Weybridge, Garsons    Farm, Esher & Robert Philips Gallery, Walton-upon Thames, 2006


-“Funny Ha-Ha”  Beatrice Royal Contemporary Art and Craft Gallery, Hampshire 2001

-“Fresh Art” (featured artist)  Business Design Centre, Islington, London 2001

-“Mancunian Candidates” Manchester Metropolitan University 2001

-“Year 2” Righton Gallery, Manchester 2000

-Foundation show. Wimbledon School of Art 1998



  • Post Grad. Diploma Arts Therapy. Whitecliife College of Art and Design, 2020.
  • Te Reo Māori, Level 1&2, Te Wananga O Aotearoa, 2019.
  • New Zealand certificate in Youth Work. Careerforce Level 3 2016
  • BA (Hons) Fine Art  (Sculpture) Manchester Metropolitan University 2001
  • B-Tec Foundation Studies art and design, Wimbledon Art School 1998

Paint My Panda regular freelance roles:


  • Stopping Violence Dunedin/DCAFV 2017- present. Creating and facilitating Bail On Bullying projects in schools & community arts at events.
  • Hutt Valley Community Arts 2015-2016.Tutor on community arts engagement projects, working with mixed groups of young people, some with graffiti convictions.
  • Upper Hutt City Council 2015-2016. Tutor and arts mentor on community mural projects, working with assorted groups of young people in the area.
  • Buller REAP 2015/2016/2018. Tutor with NEET group, and mentor to in-training youth workers.

Other clients include: Youth Law, Enspiral, Greys District Youth, Sticks and Stones/Project Positive, Pakiki Kids, Oranga Tamariki, Kawatiri Coastal Trail, Glenfalloch Gardens, Keep New Zealand Beautiful, Green Island Community Network, Youthline Otago, Birkenhead Town Centre Association, Chorus cabinets, Good Good, Little Citizens.  


  • Richmond Borough Council 2006-2014. I worked at various youth centers across the borough as a workshop facilitator, some projects involving accredited outcomes, school holiday programmes, alternative provision (NEET), girls only groups, vulnerable teenagers, special needs, artist in residence.
  • The RC Sherriff Trust  2006-2014. I worked on various community engagement projects in the Elmbridge area, designing creating and installing public art works.I worked with primary and secondary schools, retirement centers, special needs groups, school holiday provisions and general public plus a 6 month Artist in Residence (2008)
  • Feltham Arts 2007-2008 & 2011-2014. Community engagement projects with local children in schools, housing estates and community centers. School holiday provision and after school clubs with learning outcomes.
  • Spearfish 2008-2011 I ran assorted arts workshops with a focus on graffiti projects in primary and secondary schools, alternative provision centres (NEET), young offenders institutes plus live painting and commissioned mural work
  • The Dogs Trust 2010-2013. City Dogs branch working with inner city communities and young offenders on dog welfare themed creative engagement projects
  • Kingston Youth Support Services 2011-2014. I ran art workshops with special needs teenagers working with themes of identity and ownership.

Other clients include: Richmond Youth Partnership, Dragonfly Events, Sony Playstation, ‘The Priory’ Radstock, Opening Doors homeless charity, Feltham CLC, Eastpak “Tag My Pak”, Urban Damage, We Are Skyhigh, Events by Interact, Non Conform Agency, City West, Manchester Camerata, Toms Shoes, Knowsley Council, Brugal Rum, NJLIVE, BBC Blast, Hounslow Homes, NBC Universal, Spearfish, EuroCultured, North MusicTrust/Comusica, Capital of Culture- (Turku- Finland), A.R.K schools, Isleworth Explorers,Paragon Community Housing  Group, Blackpool Coach Services Ltd, Milkshake Montessori Nursery, Elmbridge Borough Council, Thames Valley Housing Association, Speakeasy (France), Heavenly Dish, Watermans Art Centre, Brighton Youth Centre, Runnymead Borough Council, Sustrans, Feltham Rugby club, The Eikon Charity, East Dulwich Picturehouse, Friends Of River Crane Environment, Surrey Docks Young Farmers, The Conservation Volunteers, Achieving for Children, Dalgarno Trust, plus many individual schools and youth clubs around the UK.


Volunteer roles

  • Zealandia bird feeder/counter NZ June 2015-2017
  • SWLEN (South West London Environment Network) UK. Communications Officer. UK 2014
  • TCV (The Conservation Volunteers)  Volunteer Officer; Local conservation tasks and assisting project management. UK 2014

Also: Forest and Bird, Places for Penguins, The Conservation Volunteers and Sustainability Trust.



  • Battle of Waterloo graffiti competition- Female winner. Hosted by Chrome and Black. 2012.


Funding bids secured                                        

  • $3,000 to paint a youth mural for Youthline Otago. Creative Communities. 2019.
  •  £7,000 to design, create and install a hand painted glass brick sculpture at the Medicine Gardens in Cobham. Funded by RC Sherriff Trust. 2013
  • £1,000 to install a hand painted glass brick wall at the Walton Centre, Walton-On-Thames. Funded by RC Sherriff Trust 2012
  • £4,000 for “Let There Be Light” art residency at St. Georges Church, Esher. Funded by RC Sherriff Trust 2008

Please check out my LinkedIn profile if you require further information 🙂

Birkenhead Town Centre, 2020

Paint My Panda by Pixeledonion