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Look up! We meet the man behind Pontypridd Indoor Market’s mural.

Pontypridd Indoor Market has recently undergone phase one of a mural installation. Regulars to the market will have already marvelled at the masterpiece, those of you who haven’t… make sure you pop along to take it in!
We met with the man behind the mural, Romano Marenghi of MAAD Frog.

Tell us a little about yourself Romano.
I originally worked as an animator, designer and artist in the TV and Film industry. After 14 years and before the pandemic, I had been trying out teaching doing some maternity cover at Coleg Y Cymoedd. I was enjoying getting back into the traditional side of art and passing on some of my experience and knowledge teaching Animation and Art A level.

Then as everyone knows the pandemic started, which was hard enough but my family and I also had another hurdle to overcome during this time. Our one year old son needed to have a part of his lung removed followed by 10 months of chemotherapy after being diagnosed with a rare form of childhood cancer.

After going through something like that, your perspective on life changes significantly. My wife Imogen encouraged me to pursue becoming self employed and focusing my energy into work that made me happy. I rebranded myself as MAAD Frog which was abbreviated from Marenghi Art and Design and I concentrated on commissioned comical character portraits, and various bespoke design jobs for the first year.

I am a proud 4th generation native of Pontypridd myself, I have always had a keen interest in the history and redevelopment and rejuvenation of my home town. I’ve watched various places like the Lido and surrounding buildings go into disrepair but also start to see these places get a new breath of life put into them. After seeing signs of The market in Pontypridd recovering. I was therefore excited to be part of that continued push within Pontypridd Market when I was approached to design and install a huge mural.

Romano at work. Photography by Chris Callow

What was the brief?
This project was all started because the large window above the toy emporium had recently been repaired and there was an opportunity to add something to this large ceiling space and make it an event to visit in the town centre. Although daunted by the scale of the project I was excited to leave a mark on one of Pontypridd’s most iconic buildings. As well as being able to say to my two little children ‘Daddy made that!’ and have a piece of my work on view for possible generations to come.

The concept was simple, the design needed to have a narrative that would draw in its audience and the content had to be innocent and childlike in nature. The toyshop and its customers are the prime focus. I hadn’t done anything like this before, let alone to that scale, but nothing was stopping this now! I had to really break down my design into stages.

I took all my knowledge from previous jobs working in animation and installing vinyl on vehicles and I put a plan together. Apart from the character elements of the illustration, the rest of the entire mural was painted from the deepest parts of the picture, like the sky, the
stars and the sea, up through the hillside onto the back parts of the trees and beanstalk. Then the install of the vinyl stickers of the characters and then integration and highlights. All the character elements were designed digitally to size and then sent to local printers Flagship signs.

View the gallery below.
Photography by Chris Callow

This all sounds simple but being someone who has spent most of his professional life with a team around him and designing at desk height and hasn’t spent any time up a scaffolding, it turns out I’m not very keen on heights!

Spending many hours in the Market, the relationships I made with the people from the Toy Emporium and the Salad Bar really encouraged me that I was on the right track. I loved the reactions of customers and passers by and could see early on that what I was doing was having a positive effect on people and spreading real happiness, and positivity.

There were certainly some scary moments, high up the scaffolding and in particular, single handedly installing the Moon and UFO stickers, there was lots of paint used but so far has been a real pleasure to do and a landmark project in my varied career so far.

The plan is to do the entire ceiling space in this section of the indoor market. I’m very eager to do the next section of the mural. Which is planned to be the area to the right side of the existing mural all the way to above the door into the food emporium. But at this moment in time, with the ever rising interest rates and energy prices this project has been put on
a temporary hold until the New Year.

I very much look forward to hearing everyone’s feedback and just ask that anyone who does like what they see to add ‘MAAD Frog’ on Facebook and

I’m always on the lookout for another interesting project. I’ve recently been asked by a local school to paint a mural to enhance the outside learning environment.

I am looking to get the MAAD Frog name shared around in as many places as I can so, if anyone who likes what they see has an idea they are looking to bring to life, please get in touch.

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