HomeArtMeet the Man Behind the Baltic’s Jamaica Street Art

Meet the Man Behind the Baltic’s Jamaica Street Art

Paul Curtis – a former geologist – has created the most talked about street art in the city.

The 38-year-old hand painted a pale green Liver Bird at 9am on Thursday, August 10, and was finished by 7pm.

His original plan to paint the wings changed to the Liver Bird the night before.

People from around Liverpool have been travelling down to Jamaica Street to get profile-picture-ready with the Liver Bird wings.

Paul said: “The response from the public has been phenomenal.

“I thought it would take a couple of weeks to become popular but by the time Saturday came, people were queuing to get a picture with it.

So, who is Paul Curtis?

I am an artist from Liverpool but I haven’t always been an artist, I used to be a geologist.

I worked in Scotland for 12 years and then London for five years and fortunately got made redundant a few years back.

I travelled for one year then decided to come back to Liverpool.

I fell into being an artist by accident really because my sister had a baby and asked me to paint the nursery.

Once I painted the nursery a lot of people asked if I had ever thought about becoming a professional.

I tried a few things and bit by bit it is growing but it is a very slow process.

Have you always been into art?

Not always.

I knew myself that I could draw and paint but I wasn’t even doing it as a hobby.

Now and then I would pick up a pad and do some sketches.

I knew I could and my sister knew I could so when I finished the nursery, the results turned out pretty decent.

I guess it’s like riding a bike; you don’t forget how to do it.

What is the painting of?

It’s the Liver Bird wings and one thing that few people know is that in between the wings is a crown.

I wanted to do something that people would enjoy, would make them smile and something people can take photos with.

I’m not going to say I was the first artist to draw wings but it is always a good idea to make it unique.

I was originally thinking of red and blue for Liverpool FC and Everton FC but I didn’t really want it to be a sports thing.

The more I thought about it, I realised that I should do it a pale green colour because of the Liver Bird and I’m glad I did in the end because the people of Liverpool know what it is.

Why the Baltic Triangle?

When I moved back to Liverpool and seriously thought about art as a profession, I wanted to do a piece of street art.

It had to be the Baltic because it is full of independent people, creative people and this area is more suited to street art than any other area in Liverpool, in my opinion.

I approached a couple of places and I think the wall it is painted on suits it better than a freshly built wall; it has a lot more character.

I originally had an idea to do a painting of a woman at the end of Jamaica Street.

I spoke to the council and they told me that the wall could come down at any time, so it just wasn’t worth the effort if it was to be knocked down.

So, I decided to do something of a smaller scale and even the wall I chose could come down so if people like it then great, if they don’t then it’s only going to be there six months.

I liked the fact that the wall I chose already had some faded out graffiti on it, it helps the look.

What has the response from the public been like?

I could never have predicted the way it has turned out.

I did know people would take photos with it and gradually it would become more popular but by Saturday, national newspapers, even international, had grabbed hold of it.

It’s great that people are supporting me.

Have any famous faces took a photograph with the wings?

The only one I have seen is Katarina Johnson-Thompson – an English athlete specialising in the heptathlon – she put it on her Instagram and a few people told me about it.

I was hoping maybe some footballers could come down and take their pictures with it but Jurgen Klopp – Liverpool FC manager – would be a good one.

Katarina Johnson-Thompson with street art

What are your plans for the future?

I think I will do more stuff but I am trying to think of what to do now.

While doing this in different cities interests me, I’m not sure I’ll get the same response.

I have painted a picture very symbolic to Liverpool and maybe that has helped the support but I do not want to be a one-trick-pony painting wings in every city.

At the moment, I have work coming in that I will do first but when things get a bit quieter I will definitely do something else.

Because this has took me by surprise, at the moment I’m still trying to take all of this in.

I’ve been contacted by businesses, and I want to do projects around the city too.

It is uncertain, but it’s uncertain in a good way.

You can visit Paul’s Facebook page here:

www.facebook.com/PaulCurtisArtwork/

Head down to Jamaica Street and don’t forget your cameras.

Written by

<p>Freelance Journalist</p>

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