Sunderland artist Frank Styles creates mural of Marcus Rashford at South Tyneside school
Frank is well known on Wearside for his impressive street art, which has seen footballers such as Jimmy Montgomery, Bobby Gurney, Raich Carter and Kevin Phillips immortalised on pub walls, as well as moving tributes to the city’s proud industrial heritage.
Now he’s turned his hand to a colourful tribute to modern day hero Marcus Rashford, the England and Manchester United footballer who’s put his high profile to good use to become a political activist for issues such as child hunger.
Frank has created a 9ft by 40ft mural of the campaigner next to the art department of Hebburn Comprehensive on a wall leading to the canteen.
The street artist, who completed the mural last week, says it’s already receiving a great response from staff and the children of key workers who are attending school.
"Marcus is an amazing guy who’s used his large profile for good so it’s a real privilege to be able to paint him,” said Frank. "He’s a role model who seems really down to earth. It must be so hard not to get an ego when you get all that attention, but he doesn’t seem to have an ego at all.”
Speaking about how the mural came about, Frank said: “The headteacher had the idea that he wanted a painting of Marcus in the school and he asked around the staff. The art teacher, Dawn Turner, knows me through the Roker Bathing Club and she asked me to be involved.
"There’s been a real buzz about the project from the people who’ve seen it so far.”
Frank has been tweeting pictures of the artwork to Marcus in the hopes it will capture his attention amidst the thousands of notifications he must receive daily.
In the meantime, he hopes it will stand as an inspiration to pupils about campaigning for good, as well as to the school’s budding artists.
"It can be difficult to become a professional artist,” explained Frank. “I’ve circumnavigated the art world, in that I don’t rely on galleries and critics, instead my work goes straight to the people and I hope that inspires young art pupils.”