Giant mural of Michael Sheen to be painted in Port Talbot
A giant mural of Michael Sheen is to be painted in Port Talbot as the town plans to bounce back from the loss of Banksy’s ‘Season’s Greeting’ artwork.
The team behind the town’s ARTwalk say they will not let the departure of the famous artist’s artwork deter them from establishing the town as the street art capital of Wales.
“We intend the street art revolution that Season’s Greetings sparked to continue and spread,” said Derek Davies, who manages the Port Talbot ARTwalk Facebook page.
“We have much to unveil over the next few months now that the removal of the Port Talbot Banksy has finally come to an end. We are first and foremost a street art group.
“Our plans include new and exciting murals soon to be undertaken by top British and local street artists. One mural will I’m sure take pride of place in the town will be a large mural of Port Talbot legend Michael Sheen.
“We also have other projects by other members including portrait painters and sketch artists.
“In all we are truly on target to become the street art capital of Wales. A lot of what we are about, is funded by grants and donations to commission these artists, others including local artists are doing it independently of ARTwalk but are united with ARTwalk, with the revolution we as a town are driving forward.”
The Michael Sheen mural will be the third in a trilogy of murals featuring iconic acting names from the town. So far painted are murals of Richard Burton and Peg Entwistle.
In addition to the new mural of the Welsh actor, there is much more planned for the town including a theatre production about Season’s Greetings, which is currently in development, and a BBC documentary about the artwork around Port Talbot.
When the Banksy artwork departed the town earlier this month, Michael Sheen expressed his disappointment at its departure.
The actor, who initially paid for security for the artwork out of his own pocket when it first appeared on the side of a garage ion the town back in December 2018, labelled the moving of the artwork ‘uninspiring’.
While he said there were positives to take from the artwork’s three year tenure in the town, he added there was little vision and ambition to keep it.
“On the positive side, one of the great things to see is how much it has been a catalyst for all kinds of things,” he told BBC Wales Live.
“Everyone was incredibly excited about the fact that Banksy had chosen to do a piece in the town. It’s been a catalyst for creativity from people within the town as well. You know, there’s been poetry and songs and other artworks being done. And that’s been fantastic.
“On the negative side, I suppose it’s in terms of the kind of official talk of what was going to happen, very little of that has really materialised and what has been done, I think it’s been a little bit uninspiring.
“When I’ve gone down to try and look at it, it is quite difficult to see,” he said of the artwork, which was dismantled brick by brick, and then moved to a new location in Ty’r Orsaf, a development of commercial units in the town centre where people could view it behind a protective screen.
“I suppose in some ways it’s followed a pattern where there’s something of great potential in the town, a lot of great ideas, but the the ambition and the vision doesn’t really materialise and the thing of real value tends to get extracted from the country and goes off into England. It’s an old story isn’t it.”
A new mural on the site of the original Banksy was recently revealed in Port Talbot.
The mural titled ‘Speedings Greetings’ is situated on the same garage where Banksy’s original artwork ‘Season’s Greetings’ appeared in December 2018.
Local artist Steve Jenkins created the artwork in the same spot that the famous artist’s work appeared.
The Banksy original has sparked street art boom in the town, which includes the creation of the Port Talbot ARTwalk – a tour of all the local street art works.
Like the original Banksy, Steve’s work carries an environmental message.
“The new piece came about by me hearing that the Banksy piece was due to leave Port Talbot, and the guys from the artwalk project got in touch to see if I could think of anything that could replace it when it goes from the town,” he told Neath Port Talbot Online.
“Although nothing will replace it, I suppose adding more art to some of Port Talbot’s plain walls will cheer the town up and the place has become a hive for street art in the last three years since Banksy painted Seasons Greetings.
“I had a think about the whole corner idea that Banksy had used and thought it might be nice if the design made use of that feature again.
“I thought of taking a trip to Taibach to see if there was anything now painted on the original garage, and there wasn’t.
“With the help of a local friend and councillor, Nigel Hunt. I tracked down the owner of the garage and set about asking him if he would give me permission to do another painting on the famous wall. I shared my idea with him and was delighted when he said yes, you can go for it.”
Steve added: “The message behind this is poking a bit of fun at the pollution signs on the motorway and us having to do 50mph to combat it. I think the majority of people get wound up at peak travelling times when this slow section makes miles of tailbacks.
“The message behind the Banksy art was so strong I wanted the wall to have a similar meaning but to come at it from a different angle. Hope people like it and it brings some smiles.”
Support our Nation today
For the price of a cup of coffee a month you can help us create an independent, not-for-profit, national news service for the people of Wales, by the people of Wales.