Blackpool grandmother paints topical 'heat or eat' nativity mural to brighten her neighbourhood for Christmas
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Kirsty Rea, 49, created the scene on a gate in Granville Road, beside her Durham Road home, to brighten up the street and ‘make people think’.
The grandmother-of-two, said: “I wanted something that was current and would make people think a little, with the hardships people are facing – myself included.”
She used acrylics to hand paint the piece from her wheelchair and said that her aim is to "not just brighten the street,, to brighten up how people are feeling,”
‘I love walking out my door every day and seeing this’
The festive artwork has been praised by neighbours and passers-by, with lots of positive comments on her Facebook page, TheWayIRoll.
Anthony Coulthard, who lives across from the mural, said: “Amazing. I love walking out my door every day and seeing this.”
Heather Clarke said: “I love it! To carry on painting in this cold, frosty weather, you're totally dedicated.”
Art was a lifeline
Having given up art after high school, the mum-of-three turned to painting as therapy when a rare illness left her in a wheelchair in 2012.
She has Cauda Equina Syndrome which causes sudden severe compression of the lower spine.
“Art was something I could do without having to ask anyone for help. I was getting very depressed after I gave up work and this gave me freedom. It really was my lifeline.”
The kids are her biggest critics
And she frequently paints a new mural to brighten up the area – this one replaced a tribute portrait of Queen Elizabeth II painted after her death.
Kirsty lives with grand-daughters, Wynter, 2, and Kymberley, 3 and her 83 year-old mum.
She added: “they are my biggest critics, and they also gave their approval.”
She began a Fine Art degree course in September, but after 12 weeks her funding stopped and she couldn’t afford to continue.
“It’s okay because I can still do what I love, but I put in so much work. I just really want to do good with my art, and I’d like to get out and brighten up the forgotten parts of Blackpool.”