Sheffield evolution murals

September 9, 2014 • 1:22 pm

by Matthew Cobb

My daughter Lauren is about to go off to Sheffield University to study Zoology. She’s the third generation Cobb to go to Sheffield (I studied Psychology there, and my father studied Geography). I was very pleased to see on the Tw*tter feed of poet Ian McMillan (@IMcMillan), the Bard of Barnsley, that Sheffield has got itself some lovely evolutionary murals – the first of David Attenborough, the second of Darwin, both of them by the same artist (the first picture is by McMillan, the second is taken from here).



These are the work of Rocket01, who says on his website:

I’m an artist based in Sheffield UK, specialising in Graffiti Art, Mural Art, and fine art. I paint on canvas, or take on commissions painting interior and exterior artwork in peoples homes or businesses and on walls around the city.

Here’s a picture of him at work on the Attenborough mural:


He says of the Attenborough mural:

In 2012 I was asked to paint a logo on the side of anestate agents on Charles Street in the centre of Sheffield. I went for a short meeting with the guy in charge who told me he wanted the logo painting quite large.

I was more than happy to paint what he wanted, but after giving it some thought I realised I had a great opportunity to paint something better right in the heart of the city.

I gave the guy a quote for the job he wanted and thendiscussed another idea to paint something of my own choice totally unrelated to his business but for free ! We talked about what I might paint and he agreed, he also agreed to pay for the cherry picker if I paid for the paint. It was a done deal !

I got a smooth concrete dream wall in the centre ofthe city ….

He got a mural on the side of his premises that gets his business more attention than a logo would have done !

He has also done a portrait of Darwin:


He says:

After i painted the huge Darwin wall it felt natural that i’d have to paint him onto a canvas.

The painting measured 60x30cm and was painted onto linen using spray paint and brush work.

I wanted to add the badges to the canvas similar to the ones i had painted onto the collar of Darwin when i did the wall, but this time i thought i would add ‘real’ badges to the canvas by piercing them through the surface of the painting.

The badges shown in the photo were my own attempts at hand drawing the lettering onto them, i later decided to have them custom made and the end result was much better.

The badges were

I love evolution

I love green

I love Rocket01

and the CND badge

The piece was recently sold before any body got to see it, i think it was a Valentines gift for a lady who worked as a scientist, from her husband who was a biologist !

You can buy some of his works, including a nice large photo of the Attenborough mural for only £18.





18 thoughts on “Sheffield evolution murals

  1. Congratulations to your daughter Lauren, Matthew.

    Here’s a link to ‘Quantum Leap’ the abstract statue in Shrewsbury where Darwin was born erected to commemorate the 200th anniversary of his birth. Lovely place, Shrewsbury, as well: feels like a university town, but isn’t.


    1. A Cro-Magnon with a huge frontal lobe!

      Ernst Haeckel visited Darwin at his house, and later wrote a description:
      ‘Tall and venerable…with the broad shoulders of an Atlas that bore a world of thought: a Jove-like forehead, as we see in Goethe, with a lofty and broad vault, deeply furrowed by the plough of intellectual work. The tender and friendly eyes were overshadowed by the great roof of the prominent brows.’

  2. I like the Darwin one. The Attenborough one is nice too but its colours somehow remind me of those big propagandistic murals you see in Cuba. Not necessarily bad, just interestingly strange.

    1. Yeah, I thought the same thing too. The clothes look a bit like military uniforms, giving the murals a bit of an all-hail-our-great-leader look.

      But I think they’re still good, for two reasons. One, I suspect that they may not look like uniforms in real life. Second, the buttons bring it back.

  3. This is the Darwin mural in Bromley marketplace; Downe House is in the background (Downe House was in Kent in Darwin’s time, but since 1965 has been in the London Borough of Bromley)
    At top left is a portrait of H G Wells, whose father owned a draper’s shop on the other side of the marketplace – a spot now occupied by Primark.

  4. Very interesting to see your work, and well done! The Attenborough looks fabulous. I’ve done a couple of frescos in Bedford, each about 36 sq metres, the big problem being keeping colours consistent between sections, as the colours change as the plaster sets. More power to you – England needs more street art, for sure. What is the lifespan?

  5. Much nicer murals than when I was a student in Sheffield in the 80s.

    If there’s one thing that really annoys me its when people can’t even spell swear words correctly……

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