AS this year’s Tour de Yorkshire kicks off Middlesbrough-born artist Mackenzie Thorpe has announced several public appearances during the event.

Mr Thorpe, who was named Tour de Yorkshire’s official artist in December, is one of the biggest selling British artists of the last 30 years.

He established a gallery in Richmond, North Yorkshire in the late 1980s and has since showcased his work across the world.

But during race days, Mr Thorpe will be out across North Yorkshire, meeting and greeting his fans.

He said: “This fantastic race shows the best of Yorkshire to the world and I’m pleased to be taking part in so many different ways.”

On Friday, May 3 Mr Thorpe will be in Bedale, working on his land art project.

He claims it will be the size of a football pitch and easily seen at Exleby Bridge as riders reach the finish line.

He said: “The land art project in Bedale is a great example of how the Tour de Yorkshire brings communities together, local schools and Help for Heros are massively involved in this project and I honestly can’t wait to see it finished.”

He will also judge the race’s ‘best-dressed’ bike competition.

On Saturday, May 4 Mr Thorpe is expected to create a brand new piece of art in Scarborough, whilst a second art demonstration will take place in Leeds on Sunday, May 5.

He said: “The live art events will be something special – to be honest I’ve never done anything like this before, I know, I’ll have to work really fast to create something in the time allocated – hopefully it will all come together.”

He added: “The idea is to auction these pieces later on in the year, and raise vital funds for this years official charity ‘Help for Heroes’ who do so much amazing work for our service men and women.”

On the final day, Mr Thorpe will go to Leeds to hand out Thorpe-designed medals, which he designed for race finishers.

Welcome to Yorkshire commercial director Peter Dodd said: “We love how Mackenzie is embracing the spirit of the tour and are hugely excited that he will be creating two new artworks live in front of fans during the tour. The best bit is that these unique pieces will be auctioned for this year’s charity “Help for Heroes”.”