My Brighton Angel Wings

Something really extraordinary happened for my birthday this year.  A very special friend organised the most amazing surprise for me and arranged for a top Brighton street artist to paint my very own angel wings.   What am I talking about?   Here is my Brighton angel wings story…

Los Angeles Angel Wings

For a while now I’ve had an obsession with street art angel wings.  While researching our family road trip around California I read many blogs about things to do in Los Angeles.  I’m a relative newbie on Instagram (you can follow me here) but do love an Insta pose, so read a few ‘best instagram spots…’ blogs.  Quite a few mentioned the Collette Miller wings, and I really liked the photos of them, so I decided to seek them out myself while we were there.

Collette is a visual artist and performer who started the global Angel Wings Project in LA to ‘lift the spirits of people on the streets’.  She has replicated the project around the world and in LA I visited a few locations for Collette Miller wings. They are dotted around the city and there are also some wings at the top of the OUE Skyspace tower.   My main blog image is of me at the Melrose Avenue wings in Hollywood.

Pink Collette Miller wings at Melrose Avenue Los Angeles

Here are the wings at the top of the Skyspace building in downtown LA – probably the highest angel wings in the world!

Collette Miller wings at the top of the OUE Skyspace building

Birthday Surprise

For my birthday I arranged for a group of family and friends to try out a mod-themed escape room in Brighton.   We had some time to kill beforehand so my sister suggested having a walk around the North Laine street art, which is something I need no persuasion to do.   I am somewhat obsessed, and have written three blogs on Brighton street art (so far!) as it is such a vibrant scene there.

It all seemed very cloak-and-dagger with them taking me on a convaluted route to Trafalgar Lane, which is a back street a short distance from Brighton station which is a favourite location for local artists.

I was busy chatting away to my friend when I looked up and saw our group had stopped, and noticed the bright pink hair of one of my best friends Jo who I wasn’t expecting to see.   They were all laughing and pointing at a wall which had some beautiful wings painted on them!  I was in shock as at the same time a guy who looked very much like top Brighton artist Glimmertwin 32 (aka Sean Lyons) was standing with them!

My son captured the moment on video as I reacted with shock, realising that these wings had somehow been painted in my honour!

It turns out that Jo had gathered some of my closest friends and family to club together and commission Sean to paint the wings.   I was absolutely speechless as this was the most brilliant idea and an amazing present.  I had been having a few down days with chemo side effects and this was the perfect way to raise my spirits, echoing the original inspiration from Collette Miller.

Once I got over the shock, we all posed in front of the wings.  Here are a few of the best ones!

My sister with her classic ‘hair over face’ look!

It turned out that Jo had organised this in the space of a week, and the timing couldn’t have been more perfect.  Jo’s husband squeezed a day’s work in a morning to allow them to drive down for the big reveal, and artist Sean had a gap in his diary to paint the wings just before we were due to arrive.

The lady who made it all happen, my lovely friend Jo

We were so lucky with the weather, which had been threatening to rain that day according to the BBC.  It was as though it was meant to be, with the sun coming out just at the right time.

My older son, striking a casual pose.

My younger son attempted a star jump for a great pose!


My husband struck a Bruce Forsyth pose!

I was gutted that I hadn’t worn makeup when I first saw the wings, and my hair was a bit of a mess (and still is as I’m not allowed to bleach it) so I went back a week later for another pose!  Yes, I’m deliberately wearing pink, to co-ordinate with the wings and also a nod to breast cancer awareness month, which is another happy coincidence.

Me and my wings!


Since I wrote this post many of my friends (and complete strangers!) have shared their photos with me.  I’m so happy that others are enjoying them too, and hope that continues for as long as possible.  The wings have also been partially covered over, by another street artist, in what seems like a poignant tribute.  Whilst it’s sad that the original design has been obscured, I love that the colours are in keeping with it, and if this is a tribute to someone’s sad loss then that makes them even more meaningful.   Street art is transient and I’m so happy that many of my friends had their photos taken in Trafalgar Lane, with quite a few making a special trip so that they can share the experience with me.

The photos below will always remind me of this most special present organised by one of my best friends, and the surprise will stay with me forever!

Collage of photos of friends with the Brighton angel wings in Trafalgar Lane

Collage of friends with the Brighton angel wings painted by Glimmertwin32, aka Sean Lyons

Here are the original wings in all their glory!

Purple, white and pink angel wings in Trafalgar Lane, Brighton

Please do go there and take your photo in front of the Brighton angel wings!  If you post them on Instagram then use the hashtag #brightonangelwings so that I can see all the images.  It will continue to cheer me up immensely!

I would like to thank the gorgeous friends who contributed to make this happen.  You made me so happy, I’m absolutely overwhelmed.  And Jo, who did the main organisation and managed to pull off the most extraordinary surprise – I can never thank you enough!

If you fancy your own mural then Sean travels far and wide to paint commissioned pieces, whether for businesses, or people who fancy something a bit different on a garden wall, or interior.  Here is his Facebook profile if you’d like to get in touch with him.

Street artist Sean Lyons in front of his angel wings in Trafalgar Lane Brighton

The man himself, street artist Sean ‘Glimmertwin’ Lyons, photo by Jo

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  1. Jo
    October 13, 2018 / 11:50 am

    You look beautiful xx

    • AliRichards
      October 13, 2018 / 6:03 pm

      Thank you! x

  2. Laura
    October 13, 2018 / 2:14 pm

    I love this, such a beautiful thing by such wonderful friends xxx

    • AliRichards
      October 13, 2018 / 6:03 pm

      I’m so lucky! Thanks for reading

  3. Iain raptor
    October 22, 2018 / 3:50 pm

    Just read this Ali

    It’s a beautiful read

    Jo is a very lovely friend
    I have 2 pics of me in the wings, I think I put them on a post somewhere

    • AliRichards
      October 22, 2018 / 6:16 pm

      I saw them on Facebook, thank you so much for sharing them! Jo is indeed a very special friend…

  4. October 24, 2018 / 2:47 pm

    What wonderful friends you have! I’m going to seek this out next time I’m in Brighton 🙂

    • AliRichards
      October 24, 2018 / 3:57 pm

      thank you so much for reading! I do have amazing friends…

  5. November 7, 2018 / 7:56 pm

    Beautiful and gracious update

    • AliRichards
      November 8, 2018 / 6:02 am

      I have you to thank for them, one of the best surprises ever! x

  6. November 9, 2018 / 7:34 pm

    These are beautiful, I’ve visited LA and never knew about these. Your friends are amazing

    • AliRichards
      November 10, 2018 / 4:45 pm

      They certainly are! Thanks so much for reading, Elaine…

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