A show-stopping mural of Stretford-born and Macclesfield-raised musician Ian Curtis has appeared in Macclesfield, 42 years after the tragic death of the famous Joy Division frontman.
Commissioned by Cheshire East Council, the huge new mural was completed by Manc street artist Akse just yesterday, depicting the frontman as he sings in front of a live audience. Putting Macclesfield on the map, Curtis enjoyed two years of success with the band before taking his own life in 1980, following a struggle with both epilepsy and depression. While his career was short-lived, his legacy lives on today with hits such as Love Will Tear Us Apart and Transmission. His surviving bandmates went on to form iconic Manchester band, New Order.
Found on the side of a barber’s shop on Mill Street, just across from the bus station, the mural marks the beginning of a planned regeneration for the Cheshire town, which aims to celebrate Macclesfield’s ‘quirkiness’ and enhance the town centre’s retail and leisure offering.
Councillor Nick Mannion, chair of Cheshire East Council’s economy and growth committee, said: “Before today, I spoke about how perhaps this beautiful mural has been somewhat overdue but now that I’m here seeing it for myself for the first time, I can say without any doubt that it has truly been worth the wait.
“As I’ve said previously, I am a huge fan of Joy Division – the cultural significance of the band and Ian stretches well beyond my home town of Macclesfield. This is such a proud moment, I’m feeling very emotional about it right now.”
Street artist Akse said: “Although I’ve been working on murals most of my life, it’s still always an incredible feeling to get to the end of the journey – well the end of my journey at least. Now it’s time for the people of Macclesfield to enjoy the mural, as I know how much Ian meant to so many of them.”
Akse’s work in Manchester has become prolific over the years, with notable works including the NQ’s Caption Sir Tom Moore mural and a heartfelt tribute to the NHS during the pandemic.