Meet the YO Arts Fest team: CONNOR


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“Some people like to play guitar, I like to stand in front of a wall with a pressurised can.”


Connor Burke, better known by the alias Conrico Steez, is a Bristol-based illustrator and sign writer who combines his talents with street art to create breath-taking murals. He incorporates his grungy cartoon style with bold lettering, creating pieces that wow audiences and emanates a unique creative energy.


Connor is a part of the innovative YO Arts Fest ‘behind-the-scenes’ team who are creating and leading the event; the event is specially designed and hosted by young people, for young people. The festival is also created with a collaboration between The Diverse Artists Network and PAPER Arts, with members of the youth team gaining experience whilst producing a beneficial and exciting result. With this in mind, we decided to ask Connor more about his role in the ‘behind-the-scenes’ team and about his experience in creating the YO Arts Fest.





                                                  What would you say is your motivation and drive?

 “My motivation and drive are that I hate looking at boring things, so I want to make everything pretty. I started out in graffiti, and there’s a big thing against graffiti [but] it’s fun to get your art out there. I think it’s one of the most relaxing things you can do, spray painting a wall! Drive is just to enjoy life and live it, and not be working 9 to 5 and not enjoying life. [With spray painting] you get to be outside which is always fun, except when it’s raining.”


How has the PAPER Arts’ events training programme helped you, and how do you think the YO Arts Fest will benefit you in the industry?

“I feel coming into the event management course has given me a lot of inside knowledge and links into the industry. I can see from speaking to the people involved in it, it’s going to give me a lot of industry links [and] probably help me to do mural work for festivals – I’m just generally excited for meeting people! It’s introducing me to getting my name out there [and] seeing how far it leads to and hopefully future events past this.”


How do you think the YO Arts Fest will benefit you and other young creatives? How would you encourage other young people to attend the event?

 “It’s just going to give you a different opportunity that you’re not going to see with an education essentially. For me, if someone came up to me and told me about this when I was 12 years old, I would have jumped on the course! You’re gonna get a load of opportunities that you wouldn’t get in other places. So, it’s going to offer you a lot of things – might even inspire something new in you which you weren’t aware that you liked. Just going outside the box really for what you can do.”


And finally, if you could summarise YO Arts Fest in 3 words, what would they be?

“Opportunity, creativity and knowledge.”


If you want to catch this amazing event produced by Connor and the team, check out YO Arts Fest on Thursday 15th November at Docklands Youth Centre St Pauls’s Settlement, 74-80 City Rd, Bristol. The free arts event celebrates the creativity of vibrant youth, talent and community. This interactive event will include local youth talents, inspirational speakers, arts workshops, stalls, signposting, exhibitions, delicious food and arts opportunities!


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The future of paper arts

A Statement from the Board of Directors


Like many organisations, PAPER Arts has been significantly impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. In 2020, on appointment of a highly skilled CEO, we made the bold decision to review our business model and begin a process of research and development in order to shape a new service and to better support creatives in Bristol with professional development, networking and the opportunity to learn new skills.

Throughout the pandemic we have proudly supported creatives in Bristol, with a focus on young people from St Pauls, our Creative Employment programme hosted over 20 sessions and we welcomed 17 young people to feed into our research and development proposal. 

However, the last 18 months have been a huge challenge, while we’ve been able to successfully deliver a plethora of projects since our inception seven years ago, we have been unable to secure the funding necessary to realise our ambitious plans for the future and to provide our organisation with much needed financial stability.

As a result, it is with a heavy heart that the current PAPER Arts team, made up of Grace, Kate, Katy, Lau and Amie will no longer be able to continue in their roles. Our small team has delivered a substantial amount of value to the community we serve and the Board of Directors are endlessly grateful for the skills and professionalism they bring with them each and every day. We are proud to know and work alongside such talented individuals and believe that the arts sector is a better place with them in it. 

The ideas generated by this team are inspiring and hopeful and the Board of Directors wholeheartedly believe in the importance of supporting the creative community in Bristol.

As September ends and the seasons change PAPER Arts will be going into hibernation in order to survive this adversity. Our voluntary Board of Directors will spend the coming months considering the future of PAPER Arts, the role we can play in the arts sector in Bristol and how we can sustainably move forwards. We don’t know what that will look like yet, but as soon as we are able to share more with you we will. 

In the meantime, should you have any questions or concerns or if you would like to speak to someone about the future of PAPER Arts please don’t hesitate to contact [email protected] – Kirsten Cree, one of the Board of Directors will be monitoring this inbox. 

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