Marilyn Monroe artwork with a twist is created by Sunderland designer in memory of his father

When Darren Timby came up with his artwork idea to create an image of Marilyn Monroe, he had hoped it would be a labour of love between father and son.

Friday, 29th May 2020, 8:54 am

Instead, he has pushed himself to work on the 6ft by 4ft piece on his own as a tribute to his dad Billy as he channels his grief into the project, which has seen him use painted screws to make up the pixels in an image of the film icon.

Graphic designer Darren, from Roker, had started to map out the picture when his father died in January, aged 77, of heart failure.

Made up of 26,304 screws which would be 1km if laid out end to end – each coloured black, grey, silver or red in advance and 8mm in diameter – the piece will weigh around 13 stone once finished.

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Darren Timby and his daughter Belle check out the artwork so far.

He hopes that one day it could hang in a gallery or that it could catch the attention of bosses of a restaurant such as Hard Rock Cafe.

The 38-year-old plans to follow it up with another work of Elvis, another of his dad’s heroes, as well as some of his own, including Freddie Mercury, David Bowie and Mick Jagger.

Darren, who is dad to Luke, 13, and Belle, two, has also been sent suggestions after sharing his work through Facebook, with Liam and Noel Gallagher and Frank Sinatra among them.

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Darren Timby and his late dad Billy.

Billy, who worked as a moulder for steelworks including Joblings, lived in Red House and was a regular at Heppies, with the pair sharing a love for making and inventing together.

Darren, who runs a canvas print design company, said: “It's been a distraction from the grief of losing my dad and best mate, but also a good escape from the boredom of lockdown, as my business ImageBlox has suffered as I've struggled to get paid work.

“It’s been brilliant because the more I’ve done it, the more encouraging it’s been.

“Some have ridiculed the concept and joked saying ‘have you got a screw loose’ but that has really spurred me on.

Darren Timby has created the image using a specially built frame.

“I emptied the shelves of B&Q twice of the certain type of screw I selected to use and had to order more online – B&Q was me and my dad’s second home – and in normal times, I'm in there almost daily for materials for my business ImageBlox.

“Staff know what I'm up to with all the screws now, but when I was first buying them, all I could do was try and describe the idea so I'm not sure what they would have thought of the concept.

“Every screw I put in, I’m thinking of him and I speak to him a lot of the time when I’m doing it.

“It’s bittersweet because it’s something I wanted us to do together, but it’s great to see it start to take shape.

Darren Timby has spent hours making the image so far.

“I think he would have loved it.

“He would have been telling everyone in the club about it, he would be in there on a Sunday talking about it, because every sentence would start with ‘Darren and me...’”

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Darren Timby's artwork is made up of more than 26,300 painted screws.

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