Artist scoops world award for mural in a Sheffield shopping precinct

A delighted Creswell artist has won a World Illustration Award for his mural in a Sheffield shopping precinct which depicts the city’s industrial heritage.

Friday, 15th October 2021, 10:54 am

Modest Will Rea, who lives in Creswell, said he never expected to win for his 50-foot mural called Workings of Sheffield which is on the public wall overlooking the courtyard in Orchard Square.

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"I’ve had a mad few days,” he added after the piece won the site specific category. It was one of 200 pieces shortlisted from 5,280 entries by judges in the World Illustration Awards.

Will Rea has won a World Illustration Award for his Orchard Square mural

“I didn’t realise how many lovely people there are out there. It shows the world is ticking over and people are still happy,” said Will, aged 24, a graduate of Hallam University who works freelance under the name Willustration in Sheffield.

Workings of Sheffield took around four months to complete and was unveiled in March 2020. "Because of Covid I didn’t feel like people really got to see it before they literally locked Orchard Square up,” explained Will.

“It has waited but has now got the recognition. I didn’t think I’d win – the awards are prestigious and there were applicants from 82 countries.

"But this is going to allow me to keep working and make this a full-time job. It could open so many doors and opportunities. I don’t know what they are yet but I’ve had a lot of interest in my work.”

Will Rea has won a World Illustration Award for his Orchard Square mural

Will said how he wanted Workings of Sheffield to capture the ‘can-do and colourful spirit of the city along with its industrial heritage. He combined bright ‘abstract patterns’ with ‘line work’ to complete the colourful mural.

He started work on the ambitious project during winter 2019, which was Sheffield’s wettest year on record. "It wasn’t the greatest time for exterior work,” joked Will.

Now he can look forward to more projects, with jobs booked into 2022 and teaching interior design at Hallam. Will has just finished a mural at Westways School, Crookes, and worked with Hendrick’s Gin.

For more information about Will search for the @willustration_ handle on Instagram and Twitter, or visit: www.facebook.com/willustration.co.uk

Will Rea has won a World Illustration Award for his Orchard Square mural
Will Rea has won a World Illustration Award for his Orchard Square mural
Will Rea has won a World Illustration Award for his Orchard Square mural
Will Rea has won a World Illustration Award for his Orchard Square mural
Will Rea has won a World Illustration Award for his Orchard Square mural