Entrepreneur of the Year and Alumni Business Person of the Year nominee – Rob Fenton
Graphic artist Rob Fenton has been called a true visionary who is leaving an indelible mark on Stoke-on-Trent’s physical and cultural spaces.
The Staffordshire University alumni, who graduated in Graphic Design in 2007, has been nominated as Entrepreneur of the Year and Alumni Business Person of the Year in the Staffordshire University Business Awards.
The Longton-born artist was put forward by Charlotte Pearce, who has commissioned Rob for projects in her role as the BID Manager of Newcastle-under-Lyme Business Improvement District.
She said: “I’d like to nominate Rob in recognition of his outstanding contributions to the creative landscape of Stoke-on-Trent. Rob has played a pivotal role in transforming the city through his artistic endeavours, leaving an indelible mark on both its physical and cultural spaces.
“Rob’s journey began with Ntrprnrs in Hanley, where he co-founded a venture that not only sold clothing and artwork but became a cultural hub for the community. This early initiative laid the foundation for Rob’s entrepreneurial spirit, and his subsequent ownership of We are Culla brought about some of the most breathtaking pieces of art that have graced our city over the past few years.
“I don’t think there’s a single town in the six of Stoke-on-Trent that hasn’t witnessed the magic of Rob’s paintbrush. And if it hasn’t – it will!
“Since embarking on his solo endeavour in 2023, Rob Fenton has not only elevated his artistic skillset but has become a catalyst for positive change within our community. His reputation has positioned him as a key player in numerous small and large-scale projects, from impactful workshops with refugee groups to the creation of murals addressing the crucial issues of men’s mental health and women’s safety.
“Rob’s art is a powerful medium that communicates, educate, and fosters dialogue on topics that matter.
“Moreover, Rob has been instrumental in projects that celebrate the rich history and culture of Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire. The collaborative and self-funded Captain Smith mural in Hanley is a shining example of his ability to intertwine art with heritage, creating visual stories that resonate with the community.
“What sets Rob apart is not just his artistic talent but his dedication to nurturing emerging talent within the city. By championing and providing opportunities for local artists, he is actively contributing to the reanimation and regeneration of Stoke on Trent.
“Rob understands the transformative power of art and its ability to make creativity accessible to everyone, regardless of their level of art appreciation or socioeconomic background.
“Rob’s entrepreneurial journey is not just about artistic expression; it is about community building, social impact and cultural enrichment. His work goes beyond aesthetics, breaking down barriers and creating a sense of inclusivity in our city.
“Rob is a true visionary whose contributions deserve recognition.”
Rob was the co-founder and managing director of Ntrprnrs then the founder and creative director of We are Culla. He left We are Culla at the end of 2022 to focus on his freelance graphic, graffiti and illustration work.
Rob said: “Being nominated for an award is pretty overwhelming. I never really thought I’d be considered. It’s a really nice feeling – it’s made my day.”