Off-the-wall art of working class hero

My Sheffield mk2 by Matt Cockayne
My Sheffield mk2 by Matt Cockayne
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They are working class Sheffield heroes as painted by...well, a working class Sheffield hero.

These images show some of the city’s biggest names as imagined by a young Mosborough artist hoping to make one for himself.

Matt Cockayne has created a series of wall paintings featuring faces beloved in our region ranging from musicians such as Richard Hawley and Alex Turner to footy stars like Brian Deane and John Sheridan. Inevitably, there’s one of Sean Bean in the pipeline.

And it seems plenty of people think the pictures of the great and good are really great and good.

Matt, aged 30, has been so inundated with commissions since he launched the series in February he has now quit the day job (as a graphic designer) to concentrate solely on this creative sideline.

An exhibition of the Working Class Heroes, along with other Sheffield-inspired work, goes on show at the Harland Cafe, in John Street, next month.

And the success, it seems, is (sort of) thanks to The Diary.

Matt appeared on this page last autumn exclusively showcasing a range of pictures imagining Sheffield if Star Wars had taken place here. At-At Walkers attacked Barker’s Pool, Luke Skywalker raced down Eyre Street, Storm Troopers emerged from Park Hill, that sort of thing.

“After that went in the paper, I started getting more and more people wanting to buy more work but also asking if I’d come up with special designs for them,” explains the father-of-one. “A few said I should diversify into Sheffield people as well as architecture, and I thought that was a great idea.”

He’s also done a range depicting the city skyline in bottles of Henderson’s.

“I’m proud of where I come from and I like to celebrate that,” says Matt who, actually now lives in, er, Chesterfield. “It’s lovely to know other people like them too.”

The exhibition runs from April 26 to end of May. See more at