A photograph of Nick in black and white, standing in front of a bush, he is wearing a baseball cap
Nick Hearne
16 May, 2024
The Colossus of Chelmsford

Ignite Partner Nick Hearne reflects on the growing creative community in Chelmsford.

What is the best thing about Ignite

I used to think that Chelmsford had lost its creative edge. But when I joined Ignite meetings I met fascinating and diverse creative people from the area. They’ve all been busy creating incredible work, almost hidden away, like a creative hibernation. Now this community has been slowly building, pushing us forward and bringing us together. Sharing our work and inspiring others to create.

Where do you think Ignite could improve or grow in the future

The growth of Ignite feels very organic – grounded in kindness and respect. The community steer the direction and the vibe. I think this creative honesty and equality of voice sets Ignite apart. The Chelmsford creative community is gradually finding its identity – let’s not hurry it.

What do you hope to get out of being an Ignite Partner

My goal of being an Ignite Partner is to make sure that Chelmsford is a thriving city that’ll provide my children with inspiration and creative opportunities. Art and creativity should be visible and available to all. Every person in Chelmsford should feel inspired to get involved. Experiencing the joy of creation – whether its music, art, writing, coding, dance, poetry, baking, cosplaying … I’ll stop now otherwise the list will go on forever …

You’ve had a very interesting career – give us a snapshot of the projects you’ve been involved in

I work in advertising and PR. My projects tend to skew towards the silly. I’ve sent a tandoori lamb chop to space. Launched the world’s first sign language supermarket. Snuck a whole pizza into Cheltenham Races inside a fascinator. And made a Sainsbury’s trolley tunnel the number one Christmas destination in Cornwall. Buy me a drink and I’ll tell you some fun stories!

Photograph of a lamp chop, in space, with the earth behind it

A picture of Nick and a colleague outside 'Signsbury's', the first sign language supermarket

Photograph of a supermarket shopping trolley tunnel in the evening - it is covered in fairy lights and has 'Bude Tunnel' in bright lights above
What creative project are you most proud of, and why

Working with my great creative friends James and Graham, we sent a garden gnome around the world to teach people about variation in gravity. The gnome visited the large hadron collider, the South Pole, the world’s deepest laboratory (SNOLAB), went into zero gravity in Florida, and was weighed under Isaac Newton’s apple tree. But the proudest moment from this project is that our gnome’s adventures got published as a children’s science book in Germany. Sehr cool!

Photograph of a garden gnome placed next to the north pole (a red and white striped pole in the middle of snow field)

Photograph of a garden gnome close up to the camera, in a landscape of snow and a plane in the background

What would you do either in your creative career and / or in Chelmsford if there were no constraints

I’d completely rebuild Chelmsford around our rivers. Make it into the Venice of Essex. With both rivers straddled by a 50-metre high marble Colossus of Chelmsford – modelled either on Grayson Perry or Squarepusher.

Nick has sketched a picture of a man (Squarepusher) as a colossus statue standing across the river in Chelmsford

What would your message to aspiring creatives in Chelmsford be

Just start making stuff and get it out there. Don’t be a perfectionist. You’ll soon find your creative community and a supportive audience. Let’s go!

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Email: hello@ignitechelmsford.org.uk