AN ARTIST from Southport has shared his hopes for the future after making a name for himself as a creator of massive, realistic murals.
Robert Newbiggin, 57, who is in the final year of his art degree at the University of Central Lancashire, is currently working on a new 50ft-long Victorian-themed mural at Botanic Gardens to replace the existing one – and it could be unveiled at the same time as the new water aeration fountains in the spring.
Robert has previously created other high-profile murals in Southport, including one of 12-year-old Semina Halliwell, which was displayed at St Patrick’s Church in Marshside during her funeral in July as well as a new hyper-realistic one, which her family plan to use for the Semina Foundation anti-bullying campaign.
He also created an eye-catching mural, which stands three storeys tall in Southport town centre, which celebrates the NHS and its staff and features an NHS nurse, a paramedic, a doctor with angel wings and a North West Air Ambulance pilot.
It was commissioned by Mark Cunningham, Lyn Cunningham and Jacqui Holt, directors of Anthony James Estate Agents in Southport and is situated on the side of the firm’s building on Hoghton Street. It follows on from another huge mural on the opposite side of the building depicting Captain Sir Tom Moore, which went viral.
He also created one of angel wings inside Southport Hospital’s Accident and Emergency department and is working on a new one of Sir Tom with NHS staff to be sited inside Ormskirk Hospital. This one is a ‘thank you’ to Sir Tom and will feature genuine Ormskirk hospital staff.
Robert Newbiggin: “It’s amazing when you look back on what you have done and it’s something that nobody in the country is doing!
“I have been doing official portraits in the last few years, from Sir Ken Dodd at the Floral Pavilion in Liverpool; to Eric Morecambe and Eddie Large, in Blackpool Museum. I am also in the process of creating a piece of Dame Vera Lynne, which should be unveiled in the Dame Vera Lynne Theatre in the summer. The official portraits have a great synergy with the statues. Now people are taking pictures with the portraits as well as the statues, which I enjoy. For each of these icons, there is a statue as well. I also had a portrait of the Queen on display in St George’s Hall in Liverpool as well.
“I’m also starting on a portrait of Laurel and Hardy – as well as Laurel and his great-great grand-daughter, which I am going to be giving to her in person, when I meet her.
“I also created a portrait of Saffie Rose Roussos.
“I feel really connected to the people that I paint and I find that I become very attached to the families of those that I paint.
“I will often paint for those who have lost someone as it gives them a way to still feel connected to them every day. I have got to know the family of Semina Halliwell as well as I created a portrait for them ahead of the funeral. I created that in two days so that her family could have it at the funeral and from that I am now involved in campaigning for her family’s anti-rape and anti-bullying campaigns. As part of my degree, I am also creating a hyper-realistic piece which her family plan to take on the campaigning tour of the UK as they tell her story to schoolchildren.
“Saffie and Georgina Callander became symbols of the bombing, such beautiful girls. This is the same for Semina, who is such a symbol of the anti-rape, anti-bullying campaigning.
“I am also helping with the Make a Change for Ben campaign as well – I want the Victorian mural to be hyper-realistic as finished to a standard that I like.
“It means such a lot to be able to help these families to raise the profile of their loved ones and to help with such vital, meaningful work.”