“Unsung Heroes” is the latest in the area’s ever-growing street art collection

A brand new, giant mural was unveiled in New Brighton earlier this week. The piece, entitled “Unsung Heroes“ is a portrait of local RNLI member Mike Jones to mark his 40-year service volunteering at the New Brighton Lifeboat station. 

Renowned street artist SmugOne created the striking image, which he painted on the gable end of a house on Virginia Road in the town’s thriving Victoria Quarter. Known for his hyper-realistic, incredibly detailed work, Smug creates amazing large-scale wall pieces that look like they could be photographs. 

I hope that the work draws attention to the bravery and personal generosity of the service

The artwork is clearly visible from New Brighton’s main promenade, and artist Smug has captured Mike looking out across Liverpool Bay, keeping a watchful eye on the waters.

New Brighton’s busy Lifeboat Station is staffed with a volunteer crew and they answer more than 70 call-outs per year. The RNLI is a charity and is completely reliant on public donations to continue saving lives at sea. 

2020 09 10 Mike Jones Smug One Portrait 3
Renowned street artist SmugOne created the hyper-realistic image

“It’s absolutely brilliant, and I’m really proud of it,” commented Mike Jones about his portrait. “I’ve grown up with the RNLI. I was 16 or 17 years old when I first started going down to the station, and here we are four decades on. The RNLI is a way of life - and I’m amazed at what Smug has done.” 

Fresh from finishing the mural, artist SmugOne added: “A great deal of my work focuses on chronicling the lives of everyday members of the community - especially those who normally wouldn’t get recognised publicly with the great work that they do. It was inspiring to be able to celebrate Mike’s long service achievement as a volunteer with the station and I hope that the work draws attention to the bravery and personal generosity of the service, and generates them much needed support.”

2020 09 10 Mike Jones Smug One Portrait 2 Copy
Volunteer Mike Jones has volunteered at New Brighton’s busy Lifeboat Station for 40 years

The unveiling attracted a great deal of attention from members of the local community who came out to support both the crew and to see the new work.  

The artwork now joins more than 25 large-scale pieces by local, national and international artists that have been commissioned and funded by regeneration company Rockpoint Leisure, who are based within the neighbourhood. 

The privately funded company has worked hard over the past two years, alongside some local retail and hospitality businesses, to transform the area with public artworks. 

A street art tour has also now been established with a free guide available for visitors, and a contemporary art gallery is due to open in early October.

Daniel Davies, CEO of Rockpoint Leisure said: “Smug’s work is incredible and the detail in the portrait of Mike is truly breath-taking. 

“As part of our regeneration plans within the neighbourhood, we’ve included a number of local subjects, which tell the tale of the town’s historic past and also its present. 

It’s great to add “Unsung Heroes” to our collection of street art within New Brighton’s Victoria Quarter and I’m certain that it will draw a great deal of admiration from visitors.” 

To make a donation to assist the valuable work of the RNLI please visit https://rnli.org/pages/make-a-donation

For more information about New Brighton’s Street Art please visit www.newbrightonstreetart.com 

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