Cafe-bar “feline” good with art in garden

A TOUCH of movie “magic” is underway at a cafe-bar thanks to an artist who is brightening up the garden with a new film-themed mural.

Julie Stribley is currently working on her latest mural, with a feline twist, at Over the Rainbow on High Street in Rotherham town centre – and the three-part artwork strongly reflects the café-bar’s Wizard of Oz theme by paying tribute to the iconic 1939 musical, with a cat Tin Man in the venue’s garden already complete.

Earlier this year, the 50-year-old artist and mum of eight created a colourful 'Cat Fish' mural at Canklow Premier Shop.

She was invited by the owners following upset in the community when her original mural 'Tabby Cat' was removed to make way for a new bus stop.

After Julie’s dismay over the missing cat companion piece was reported in the Advertiser, Travel South Yorkshire offered to display her second mural – at a bus stop across the road and called ‘Spike’ – at Rotherham Interchange, which Julie described as a "nice offer".

But she instead opted to keep the artwork in the community by displaying it at the HQ of Casting Innovations on Canklow Road.

Prior to her work in the borough, Julie, a stay-at-home mum, had only painted one other mural – nearly two decades ago in her native Utah when she and her husband, Kimberworth-born, artist and writer Daniel lived there.

“I painted it on the side of a pizza shop,” she said. “We got to eat a lot of pizza!”

She and Daniel, who met online, moved to Rotherham 18 years ago and Julie is mum to sons and daughters ranging from ten to 31.

“I love Rotherham,” said Julie. “I have been asked to create work elsewhere but I prefer to have a connection with places.

“I really like a lot of the small business owners in Rotherham and my family and I come in here (Over the Rainbow) a lot.

“I approached them on a whim (with the design idea) and fortunately they went for it!”

Of her style and her creative method she added: “I wouldn’t call it overly edgy but I do like to have something about them that’s quirky and makes people stop and question it.

“And then the magic happens – there’s no rhyme or reason to it!”

She hopes to have the piece finished in time for her children’s return to school in September.

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