Wrexham artist known for Bale and Parkinson works says ‘football is gateway into art’

Liam recently completed a mural of Wrexham manager, Phil Parkinson, aka ‘Parky’ outside the Turf pub in Wrexham Credit: Newyddion S4C

An artist from Wrexham has said he would like to see a heritage trail of murals across the city to help inform local people and tourists about local history.

According to Liam Stokes-Massey, also known as the PencilCraftsman, the city has the perfect opportunity to showcase its history.

“There are so many capable artists in this city," he said.

"Not all of them are going to be doing football stuff, so it's an opportunity to get some really stunning work on some walls.

“It would be amazing to see other artists' work used to brighten up the place.”

Liam has gained popularity through painting murals of Wrexham footballers that can be seen dotted around the city.

Paul Mullin’s mural outside the Fat Boar, Wrexham Credit: Newyddion S4C

Working in the industry for 10 years, Liam has been sketching and painting canvases of various footballers but has found his niche with players for Wrexham AFC and the Welsh National team.

He said: “It really blew up during the Euros in 2016 where I sketched Gareth Bale doing his famous love heart celebration.”

Commenting on why he believed his digital prints have become so popular, Liam added that “football is the gateway” for many people into art as it is “something that people can relate to”.

Liam said his love for murals started after visiting places such as Liverpool, which had large depictions of past and current footballers.

“It was unreal," he said.

"I thought if towns and cities like Liverpool could have them, why shouldn’t Wrexham?”

He painted his first mural on the wall outside the Fat Boar in the centre of Wrexham prior to the 2022 World Cup which included Gareth Bale, along with local heroes, Neco Williams and Harry Wilson.

Since then he has completed murals and prints of footballers such as Paul Mullin, Ethan Ampadu and Kieffer Moore. He also made a World Cup wallchart which was bought by Gareth Bale’s mother to be displayed in his house in Los Angeles whilst playing for LAFC.

Recently, Liam completed a mural of beloved Wrexham manager, Phil Parkinson, aka ‘Parky’ outside the now famous Turf pub near the Racecourse Ground.

He said: “I always envisage murals and how I want them to look. For that reason, the ‘Parky’ one has to be my favourite because it looks so life-like. It's very rare that I say this, but I am 100% happy with it.”

As the mural took a week to complete, whilst working Liam met different people from across the world visiting Wrexham. They included four Wrexham fans from Patagonia.

The artist said: “Meeting people from Patagonia was the highlight of the week for me. Visiting Patagonia has always been on my bucket list in order to meet people whose ancestry comes from Wales and to talk Welsh with them.”

“I was painting whilst it was going on and I think a couple of them had been friends online with a couple of locals for years and they’d never met so it was the first time they were meeting. There was a load of emotion going on and an experience I’ll never forget.”

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