A COLOURFUL Mexican firefighter is portrayed in the latest piece of street art to grace the walls of our city.

His name is Julian Silvestre and he's been brought to Carlisle by talented Dutch artist Tymon de Laat.

The vibrant piece, which is now the biggest piece of street art in the city, was created on the wall of The Old Fire Station this week and has so far been praised by those who've spotted it.

Ben Heslop, of Carlisle-based Landmark Street Art, has facilitated the implementation of street art across Carlisle.

He's previously brought world-renowned street artist Tabby to create five striking images and James Ame, a British artist who lives in Israel, known as Ame72, who brightened up the wall of Struts, off Chapel Street, with two of his Lego Man murals.

"It is a strong agenda of ours to add to the cultural tapestry of Carlisle by bringing people in to connect with art of all types and allowing them to start a conversation," he said. "It's about getting people thinking about their surroundings and whether they only want to look at advertising or something with a bit more personality.

"People expect to see art in a gallery, if they walk round a corner and see a strong image they are not expecting that."

Ben, who is also the owner of the Edwin Talbot Gallery in Crosby Street, met Tymon at a show in London and asked him to create something for Carlisle.

"I liked his style and he liked the agenda I was pushing up here," he continued. "Carlisle is about 20 years behind the rest of the world when it comes to some of the more cultural and diverse things like street art. I'm in a lucky position to bring that and add to that."

Tymon, 39, has been painting full-time for the last 14 years and his huge portrait pieces can be found around the world.

"I started as a young kid like any other child and never realised it could be a full time job," he said.

"Back in the day it wasn't as easy to get a wall. I think the world is opening up to street art."

He's only done two other UK pieces, which were created at Upfest, in Bristol, Europe's biggest street art festival.

When Tymon was told his Carlisle mural would be displayed on the wall of an old fire station, he visited a fire station in Merida, Mexico, and used the influences he saw there in the design. He'd taken a photo of Julian Silvestre during the visit.

Tymon is known for his colourful portraits of central and south American people, inspired by his first travelling experience.

A lot of his work is based on cross-cultural influences. It can mostly be found in his home town of Rotterdam but is also found in the likes of Mexico, Singapore and Curacao, a Dutch Caribbean island.

He explained that he uses colour to take the attention away from the skin but that the lines of the face characterise his subject's culture and heritage.

"[Cross-culture] is very important for me," he said. "There is a saying in Dutch which means anything that is unknown is un-lived

"We are living in a world of globalisation but also a world of xenophobia. The fear of strangers is happening.

"It is important to show people that people have different beliefs and look different but in the end we are all people.

"By bringing that back home I want to cross-contaminate aspects, bringing the two cultures closer together."

The process got underway on Monday, with the wall initially whitened to make way for the mural. Tymon then uses a marker pen to transfer his design from a smaller reference on his phone before he freely sprays on the colour, using layers to create depth of field.

It is expected to be completed today.

Stephen Dunn, arts officer at Carlisle City Council, said: "I love this. It puts us on the map locally, nationally and internationally.

"We want to track this guy down. Do we link our fire service with Mexico? We want to thank that man for being part of this. It is a catalyst for many, many more things."

Follow Tymon on Instagram to find out more about his work @tymondelaat.