Underbanks Street Art
Stunning new street art unveiled in the Underbanks to showcase the area’s unquie history
Visitors to the Underbanks’ are in for a real surprise as four stunning works of art by renowned and local artists have been installed in the area, thanks to funding by The National Lottery Heritage Fund and Totally Stockport.
After an initial tender was published in April 2021, a total of 33 submissions were received from artists across the country. The brief specified that the artwork should have a strong focus on storytelling, and links to the history of the Underbanks, it’s people, the future, and growth.
The four chosen artists showcase different design styles and subject matters. The varying designs, styles and fanbases of each artist helps create intrigue in the area and attract a diverse audience to Stockport.
The artwork also allows people to engage with the history of the Underbanks in a more Covid-friendly manner.
The map to the right shows were the street art is located.
Find out more about each piece of street art, the story behind the design, and the artists.
1. Jimi Hendrix Mural
The Jimi Hendrix mural was painted by Otto Schade and is located on the site of the former Merseyway caretakers flat.
Otto Schade is a world-renowned street artist, known for his trademark ribbon style. His eclectic works decorate the walls of some iconic cities worldwide – including Berlin, Amsterdam, Barcelona and New York.
Otto’s mural pays homage to the Underbanks’ musical past and the time Jimi Hendrix played at the Sinking Ship Club, located on Royal Oak Yard, in 1967.
You can find out more about Otto and his artwork on his website.
2. Shop Small, Love Local Mural.
The ‘Shop Small, Love Local’ mural was designed and painted by Emily Flanagan. The mural is located in the empty window arches underneath St.Petersgate Bridge in the heart of Little Underbank.
Emily is a local illustrator who studied Art and Design at Stockport College and is known for her signature art style, consisting of big eared characters teamed with bold shapes and contrasting colours. Her other notable works include designing tour posters and merchandise for the indie band Blossoms.
The artwork pays homage to all the independent businesses that have set-up in the Underbanks over the years. In the 19th century, there were over 30 shops on the Underbanks with milliners, hosiers and curriers all plying their trade. Today, the number of independent businesses on the Underbanks continues to grow.
You can find out more about Emily and her artwork on her website.
3. The Underbanks Mural
The Underbanks mural was painted by Qubek and is located opposite the Cracked Actor on Little Underbank.
This mural includes fish and flowers to signify the Tin Brook that runs below, as well as other objects synonymous with the Underbanks area. The vibrant design features fauna and flora at its heart will add a much-needed sense of the natural world to the built-up environment.
Qubek is a local street artist based in Manchester, who spent his formative years living in Stockport. He has been active in Manchester for over 18 years, working on a number of large-scale murals including some of the city’s best loved artworks, such as ’22 Bees’ which commemorates those who lost their lives in the Manchester Arena attack.
You can find out more about Qubek on his website.
4. Garden Tiger Moth Mural
The Garden Tiger Moth mural was painted by Paintsmiths in collaboration with Cheshire Wildlife Trust. The mural is located on Lower Hillgate opposite Robinson’s Brewery.
Paintsmiths of Bristol, are highly-skilled mural artists with a background in graffiti and street art. Their professional experience also spans other disciplines including fine art, scenery painting, graphic design and illustration.
The moth design was chosen by Cheshire Wildlife Trust to raise awareness of this endangered local species. The location of the moth mural, opposite Robinsons Brewery, is symbolic as moths act as overnight pollinators for a wide range of flowers and plants.
You can find out more about Paintsmiths on their website.
Click here to find out more about the Cheshire Wildlife Trust.
5. Water Mural
The Water Mural was created by local artists Sally Gilford, Tasha Whittle and Anne Louise Kershaw, and is located on the steps next to the Queens Head.
The art includes a poem inspired by water and the Underbanks which reads:
running clear from Stockport to the sea
we are the source of the string
you can put a well pretty much anywhere
and life will come
is where things
In terms of design, the artwork features wildflowers native to Stockport which can be found growing beside waterways such as the Tin Brook.
A variety of print and illustration methods have been used on the artwork including gel printing to emulate a traditional Victorian botanical sketch aesthetic, like the kind found in botanical books sold at bookshops in the Underbanks at this time.