Over the last few years, tourists, football fans and even royalty have admired Merseyside’s growing street art scene.
From murals in the Baltic Triangle, to beautiful pieces on quiet streets in Wirral, more and more eye-catching art work is popping up all the time in our region.
Like the rest of the country, Merseyside is seeing a huge boom in creative street paintings as artists make the outdoors their canvases.
Pieces celebrating people from Liverpool, like Trent Alexander-Arnold, to artworks on the side of pubs and even pieces celebrating local myths can be seen all over – but what is it that makes murals so popular in our region?
Liverpool artist Paul Curtis is perhaps behind one of Liverpool’s most Instagrammed pieces of work.
Designing For All Liverpool’s Liver Birds, the famous wings, located on Jamaica Street, have been pictured with the likes of the Duchess of Cornwall, as well as millions of spectators.
Paul said part of the reason why artists are attracted to Liverpool is to do with street art’s growing popularity generally, and also because it gives artists the chance to have their work seen.
He told the ECHO: “When I did mine, the first one, there wasn’t actually that much in Liverpool, but it seems like it’s grown fast.
“A lot of people are doing it, a lot of people are coming into Liverpool to do it as well. Once they seen it was taking off, they’ve also come in from London and Manchester to paint.
“It’s definitely taken off, people seem to like it. I’m not going to say every person in the world likes it, but people do seem to like the stuff they see. For me, I think it’s nice.
“You’ve got an audience and for me, and a lot of people, they feel like they’re not going to get into galleries, it’s a difficult thing to do.
“I think a lot of people think galleries are more about who you know, rather than what you know and not how good you are or what you’re doing.
“Bands like the Arctic Monkeys started putting their stuff on Spotify and social media, so they sort of circumnavigated the record companies. I think that’s what you see in street art, it’s a bit like you don’t have to go down the old route of establishment to get your art shown.”
Paul’s artwork can be seen across Merseyside, with murals in the Baltic Triangle, Oxton, New Ferry and Southport.
Artists, he said, have had some of their work featured in areas that typically did not have a lot of footfall, but the pieces are now bringing visitors.
He added: “It’s been breaking down perceptions because a lot of people don’t recognise street art and they might just say ‘graffiti’ and use that as a whole.
“They have a mental image of tagging slum areas and things like that. I think the public’s perception has changed and they can see that it is really good.
“Certainly councils and building firms [have]. They’re all over it and they realise it turns an area that’s been neglected to an area people want to go to all of a sudden. There’s a value for the city, so in that sense companies are wanting to go for it.”
One area in Merseyside to see a huge renovation with many much-loved murals created is in New Brighton.
The seaside holiday hotspot has been transformed with art, especially along the Victorian Quarter.
Robert Jones, artistic director behind Rockpoint Leisure, said: “Merseyside has always been a world-leader in the creative arts, and [murals] as a medium are so accessible to everyone, and at a grassroots level.
“Whether it’s about getting a specific message across, or just simply brightening up some space, street art is a brilliant way to express yourself.”
New Brighton, as a community, has been hugely welcoming of the 25 large scale pieces, he said, and seeing the new pieces come together in New Brighton, and Merseyside generally has been “really encouraging”.
He added: “New Brighton is a fantastically welcoming town with a strong sense of community – the residents and businesses here embraced the artworks from day one and have been so supportive as they understand what we are trying to achieve.
“We’ve worked with some artists who are globally recognised and locals are proud to have their work being exhibited in the place where they live.
“After eighteen months we now have a street art tour in place along with a street art gallery – we have seen an uplift in visitors coming to the Quarter to see the art.”
Some of the murals in Merseyside have also challenged ideas, as well as raising awareness of issues.
The much-loved mural of Trent Alexander-Arnold, on Sybil Street, brings attention to Fans Supporting Foodbanks, and tries and make people more aware of the work they do in the area.
The mural was commissioned by The Anfield Wrap, a Liverpool FC fan podcast with subscribers in over 80 countries, as a way to commemorate an incredible season – and to inspire other youngsters.
John Gibbons, host at The Anfield Wrap, previously told the ECHO they chose to immortalise the number six because he wanted it to “inspire the young people who see it, for whom Trent is an inspiration and a role model.”
In a heartwarming gesture, The Anfield Wrap chose not to stamp their own recognisable logo on the huge piece of public artwork – choosing instead to highlight an important community cause.
Fans Supporting Foodbanks is a cause The Anfield Wrap have supported for a number of years – raising vital funds and generating awareness for the crucial work they do.
The artist behind the mural, Akse also designed the famous Klopp Mural, in the Baltic Triangle.