Los Angeles street artist Tristan Eaton is looking to turn the Thames Estuary’s WWII Redsand Sea Forts into a series of mural paintings.

The temporary art project, dubbed ‘Painted Oceans’, could be realised in time for summer 2016 – although it is yet to receive formal permission or reach its funding target on Kickstarter. Eaton has enlisted support from street art big guns Shepard Fairey, Futura 2000 and exhibition organisers Designersblock for the proposal.

Photography: Alex Lomas
Photography: Alex Lomas

‘These forts are a timeless symbol of resistance. Whether it’s fighting the tyranny of the Nazis during WWII or fighting censorship in their Pirate Radio days in the 60s – they’ve always been on the frontline of defence against oppression,’ said Eaton, who is also planning to produce a film about the installations.

‘This makes them a perfect icon for the spirit of the street art and graffiti movement and I think it’s important to share their story with a new generation.’

Added Designersblock director Piers Roberts: ‘Some of the changes that happen are directed at the wider objective of preserving the forts.’

But Project Redsand, a non-profit trust advising the proposal, said: ‘The mural artists are somewhat premature in publicising their initiative.

‘These murals would be a temporary installation until work commences on the restoration of the entire Fort. The initiative is to raise funds for very urgent repairs and maintenance as we now have an accelerating rate of deterioration.’

Redsand Forts by Matt Brown
Photography: Matt Brown

David Cooper, a local businessman spearheading another bid to convert the WWII forts into a hotel, has given the temporary art proposal short shrift.

‘We’ve told them they’re wasting their time,’ said Cooper, who is in conversations with developers and the sea forts’ landlord, the Crown Estate, about taking his own project forward.

The structures, designed by civil engineer Guy Maunsell, were built in 1942 to protect Kent’s coastal areas from German attack.

Which project gets your vote?



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