The New Ferry Project
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 thing 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.
Edge Butchers & Boysenberry Deli mural
The cows and pigs of Edge Butchers and Boysenberry Deli were the centre pieces of the first phase of the New Ferry project. Boysenberry was adorned with five black saddleback piglets, whilst the front of Edge & Sons Butchers was decorated with two moody brooding Highland Cows.
Four girls having a good old gossip whilst being pampered at the salon. I liked the glamour and the spirit of the 1950's which has been captured in this image of all my exes.
This was quite a complex image with many elements incorporated, least of all, four separate portraits which had to be spot on.
The heart cloud at Martin Gallier's represent hope and love. Gallier's provides a counselling service for those who suffer with depression and suicidal thoughts.
This mural was very simple to paint but fits in well with the shop's spirit and service.
If you like Pina Colada
The last mural of Phase 1. An idyllic beach scene, maybe the Mediterranean, maybe the Caribbean. A pair of sun loungers beneath a parasol and swaying palm trees.
Given that travel was severely restricted in 2020, this one was quite apt. The mural brought the sun, sea and sand to New Ferry. It certainly brightens up this building. The two shops below, a sun tan shop (Sun Junk-E) and a currency exchange (Simple Credit), fit in with the subject matter.
Tropical river fish. This is a scene from the Amazon River. The mural is a split shot: half underwater, half above water level, with the water surface reflecting the scene in a distorted fashion.
The fish are one Zebrapleco fish and a pair of Discus fish. They are painted much larger than reality as is necessary sometimes in murals.
Amazon Tree Frog
A cheeky Amazonian Tree Frog peering out from his watering hole, pulling back the vine leaf curtains. A cute colourful character with crazy eyes and a wonky smile looks out on the passers-by in New Ferry.
Simple, colourful and eye-catching. This is the perfect fit for the wall of Andy's Aquatics!
The Legend - Bob Marley. This portrait respects the creative genius in an understated simple depiction. The edges of the mural have added splashes of green and gold in an abstract representation of the Jamaican flag.
A difficult wall to work with: wide but short, with a large proportion of window, but the inventive use of the space available, has produced a fitting, well-balanced mural.
Colombian Cocoa pods. The basis of chocolate are these white/beige beans that can be found when the bright yellow cocoa pods are split open.
This was a very difficult mural, not because of the subject, but due to the large bay window and the irresistible smell of chocolate distracting me from the job at hand!
A pair of beautiful magenta lotus flowers, sitting amongst the lilies in a pond. There is a photorealism to this painting, from the delicate flower petals to the light reflecting off the pond surface.
In Flanders Fields
A colourful but dignified tribute to the heroes of WW1. These poppies, the recognised symbol of remembrance for the armed forces, are swaying in a peaceful meadow scene, assumed to be Flanders, France.
Roos Cafe were incredibly supportive during phase 2 of the mural project. They provided me with free lunch many, many times, even when I was working on all the other murals. I am very grateful to them.
Spicy reds, dusty oranges, sepia yellows and some understated whites and greens are used in a triangulated abstract manner to make for an eye-catching sunset. Key landmarks from India are represented in two layers of silhouette, such as: Taj Mahal, The Red Fort, India Gate, The Lotus Temple.
A ribbon like canvas that was full of block and line technique - a painstaking, time-consuming method. I had visited India in October 2019, so I was able to used that experience directly in this mural.
This grumpy old Bulldog stands watch on the Bulldog Pub in New Ferry, keeping the regulars in check. The owners of the pub love bulldogs, hence the name of the pub, and obviously chose a bulldog for the exterior street art. Bulldogs are not famed for their spitefulness, so we decided to paint this fella in a typical proud, steadfast, Winston Churchill stance!
Painted in March 2021 the building used to be a bank, but it was shut down (as is the fashion for big banks these days) just before the Covid pandemic. The Bulldog Pub has had a staggered opening, due to the gradual wind-down of the UK lockdowns.
Two Dogs & A Sprinkler
This huge mural is incredibly striking and incorporates alot of fun and energy. Dogs love a garden sprinkler and these two are full of the joy of summer, jumping in and out of the water jets. One is a sheepdog and the other is a red terrier (based on the owner's own dog. This is also a very popular piece - dogs are a winner it seems!
A very enjoyable piece. I love dogs so I had great fun painting this. The central porch made manoeuvring a tad difficult, but the biggest decision was knowing when to stop adding water drops and spray.
The ferocious Tyrannosaurus Rex stomping his authority over New Ferry. The king of the dinosaurs. Captured in a barren, volcanic landscape beneath blue skies, populated by pterodactyls.
This mural was painted by Paul Curtis as part of Phase 2 of the New Ferry (Wirral) Mural Festival in 2020. It is on the outside of the old Alice Place Pub which is undergoing a refurbishment and will re-open as The Magic Tree, a children's' soft play centre.
The mural is actually to the scale of a full grown adult T- Rex, so you can imagine just what it was like to have one prowling the streets!
Tranmere Rovers Crest
Although not strictly part of the New Ferry mural project this one can be seen as a pre-cursor that maybe opened some minds/doors to the opportunity that lay ahead of us
The colourful version of the Tranmere Rovers crest. Painted in New Ferry by Paul Curtis. This version of the crest was introduced in 1987, but has since been simplified to a blue and white badge these days. The crest is an adaptation of the Birkenhead Coat of Arms and is full of historical significance and symbolism. The mural is located on the side of Risa Curry House on New Chester Road in New Ferry, Wirral.