Robert Nesta Marley (6 February 1945 – 11 May 1981).
Legend. Singer, songwriter, and musician. A pioneer of reggae, his musical career was marked by fusing elements of reggae, ska, and rocksteady, as well as his distinctive vocal and songwriting. Marley's contributions to music increased the visibility of Jamaican music worldwide, and made him a global figure in popular culture.
Over the course of his career, Marley became known as a Rastafari icon, and he infused his music with a sense of spirituality. He is also considered a global symbol of Jamaican music and culture and identity, and gave vital support for democratic social reforms. He also supported legalisation of marijuana, and advocated for Pan-Africanism. T
his mural of Bob was painted in 2021 by Paul Curtis. The mural is located above Jam Down restaurant in New Ferry (Wirral). It formed part of the second phase of the New Ferry mural project. The image is a classic of Bob. He looks pensive and deep in his thoughts. The space for the mural was not ideal as space was limited and broken by windows. Bob's portrait has been centralised and is flanked by an abstract interpretation of the black, green and gold of the Jamaican flag.
The New Ferry Project was an idea that was mooted in 2018. New Ferry had suffered a change in fortunes for several years and the area had seen a slow decline. Then in 2017, there was a large explosion at a warehouse which ripped through the centre of the town, causing devastation to the nearby buildings and the community in general. In many ways, given the slow decline of the area, this explosion represented the lowest point. Since then, there has been a task force tasked with the recovery and rebuilding. The mural project was an idea put to the task force. Initially, there was some scepticism that the street art would be the right thin g to do. It was only thanks to the perseverance of Simon Crabtree and Mark Craig, who continually lobbied for the project, that phase 1 was finally given the
go ahead in 2020. Phase 1 included a row five shops which all agreed to having their upper walls painted. Designs were based on the shop owners’ requests. Although anything could be requested, most owners asked for something that reflected the product sold. The only restrictions were no text and no advertising. And so in the summer of 2020, five weeks was spent transforming these initial 5 shops. Thankfully, local residents and business owners universally approved of the work. The work also appeared on news reports on BBC and ITV and several newspapers. This media attention put New Ferry in a good light and the recovery task force were keen to extend the project.
Thus, in the spring of 2021, a second phase was approved. The second phase was much larger than phase one, comprising 12 new artworks. This time, there was a long list of shops requesting work. There was a lot of managing of designs, permits, admin and scheduling to account for. Phase 2 lasted 10 weeks in total. It was pretty exhausting and very eventful, but thankfully all the murals were delivered on time. It was another resounding success and the feedback was largely focused on how the spirit of the area was lifted by the splash of colour brought into town. I would like to thank all involved in making the project happen: Simon Crabtree, Mark Craig, Councillor Jo Bird and Alison McGovern MP. Also all the business owners who backed the project. I also want to especially thank all the people of New Ferry. They made me feel like an honorary citizen during the project and I really felt like a part of the community. If you visit New Ferry to see the murals, try and use some of the local businesses. They have had a hard time and your trade will mean a lot to them.
Click here to view the Bob Marley mural time lapse on Youtube, or head over the New Ferry Project page on the Street art page to view all the murals included in the project .
Head over to the shop to browse through prints of Paul's work that you can purchase yourself!
The Anne Williams mural page is up and running on the site, head over to the street art page to watch the creation of the Anne Williams mural and read about the mural and Anne Williams.
Don't forget to watch Anne the drama series on ITV, a harrowing and heartbreaking story but very insightful and worth watching.
A year review of Paul Curtis' work in 2021. Despite a difficult year with the shadow of coronavirus always looming in the background, Paul was able to achieve a rich diversity of artwork:
27 outdoor murals
13 interior murals
1 UK record
2021 started well for Paul. Early in the year he was shortlisted for and then ultimately won the Liverpool City Region Artist of the Year for 2020. The mural work came thick and fast.
In spring, Phase 2 of the New Ferry mural project kicked off which, when completed, meant that Paul now had 18 street art murals in the village of New Ferry, Wirral. In May, Paul designed and painted the largest mural in Liverpool city centre. An underwater baby on the side of Abbey Road Pub which represented the rebirth of the city after the multiple Covid restrictions that had impacted many businesses in the city. Paul also announced that he had been made an Ambassador for Liverpool for the World Gymnastics Championships that will be held in Liverpool in November 2022. His peer ambassadors include Max Whitlock and Beth Tweddle.
The summer saw two key pieces: The Away Days trainers and Red Rum murals. The Aways Days mural was done for Tranmere Rovers FC on the side of Prenton Park. It was taken from the cult football film of the same name. The still was actually part of the movie's promotional material taken by renowned photographer, Johno Johnson. The Red Rum mural is actually Paul's third Red Rum piece, however this was the first time Paul had ever been invited to display work in an art gallery, namely The Atkinson in Southport.
The stand out piece of the year (and in all likelihood his career to date) kicked off in August. It took almost two months to complete and measured almost 1000 square metres in area. "Ainsley and Dale" are two huge sand lizards painted at Toad Hall in Ainsdale, Lancashire. During the two months, Paul had to break away for a few days to paint a tribute to the heroic Hillsborough campaigner, Anne Williams. This is one of his proudest pieces of work.
Towards the end of the year, a real honour was bestowed on Paul when he was added to the Museum of Liverpool's "wall of fame". This is a photo wall of people who have been important to Liverpool's history and cultural impact.