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New Wall of Fame mural gets seal of approval from three Liverpool greats on it

2 weeks ago

New Wall of Fame mural gets seal of approval from three Liverpool greats on it
The Wall of Fame at Kings Dock

A huge mural featuring some of Liverpool’s best known cultural and sporting icons, from Paul O’Grady to John Conteh, has been unveiled at Kings Dock.

And it’s already had a seal of approval from three of the big names who appear.

The 40-metre-long Wall of Fame mural was commissioned by Liverpool BID Company and ACC Liverpool, and created by Wirral-based artist Joe Venning.

World champion boxer Natasha Jonas, Olympic medal winning gymnast Beth Tweddle and Lady Anne Dodd, widow of Ken, have all told Joe how much they appreciated mural montage.

Artist Joe Venning with Natasha Jonas at Wall of Fame Mural
Artist Joe Venning with Natasha Jonas at Wall of Fame Mural

“I was painting one Sunday when there was an event on at the Exhibition Centre and it was really busy so lots of people walking by and talking to me,” he says. “I got a tap on the shoulder, and I turned around thinking I was going to have the same conversation I’d been having all day and it was Natasha Jones.

“I’d actually just finished painting her, so it was perfect timing and she thanked me for including her.

“A friend of Beth Tweddle also Facetimed her from the wall to show her, I could hear her saying how much she loved it, and Ken Dodd’s wife also came down and had a look at it. She said he would have liked where he’s positioned because he’s between Arthur Askey who was one of his biggest influences and Paul O’Grady who was very influenced by Ken so there are some accidental juxtapositions on there that have worked well.”

Joe, 42, became involved in the project after BID and ACC put out a call for artists through Dot-Art in Liverpool.

“It was a nice open brief, they had the wall in mind and wanted the theme to be local art, culture, music and sport. It was a challenge to squeeze everything in but then the idea of portraits tied all the themes together.

“I went through a big list of famous Liverpudlians and picked which ones I thought should be on there and which would look good, and there were so many it was a real editing process.

“At first I was thinking of doing a timeline but it looked better jumbling them up a bit and I put names in the background to mention other people who needed to be in there, and books with writers like Beryl Bainbridge and the Mersey Sound poets.”

The final design has comedians, music icons including The Beatles in various eras, Spice Girl Mel C and Holly Johnson, and actors Kim Cattrell, Jodie Comer and Stephen Graham alongside sports stars such as Beth, Tash, Tony Bellew, Katarina Johnson-Thompson and Paralympian David Devine.

Artist Joe Venning with Lady Anne Dodd at Wall of Fame Mural
Artist Joe Venning with Lady Anne Dodd at Wall of Fame Mural

“There are quite a lot of football murals in the city already,” explains Joe, “so we decided to give more prominence to other sports like boxing, gymnastics and athletics.”

Joe began the work in January, battling the winter elements with The Beatles on the far left of the wall, and finally completed it a couple of weeks ago with Beth Tweddle on the far right.

Each end has space which he hopes might be used to add other Liverpool greats over time as they go on to achieve something amazing.

The finished Wall of Fame has now been unveiled at Kings Dock, running between the Arena car park and the Arena itself, and Joe says he’s very happy with the end result.

“This is the biggest outdoor project I’ve done, and it has to be the mural I’m most proud of,” he adds. 

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