Inside flat no one knew eccentric man had completely transformed until he died

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A man's life's work which saw him completely transform a flat into art with animal sculptures and murals was only discovered after his death.

Jarvis Cocker from 90s band Pulp wants to save the home whose secret makeover was exposed after the owner died.

Ron Gittins' murals and sculptures were only found after his death as visitors rarely went into his ground-floor flat.

His niece Jan Williams found painted murals inspired by Ancient Rome, Greece and Egypt on the walls, floors and ceiling of the semi-detached house in the village of Oxton, Liverpool.

He also built gigantic fireplaces in the shape of a lion and a bull, writes the Liverpool Echo.

Other creations included a life-size papier-mache model of Egyptian queen Cleopatra and Roman heads as well as cardboard creations of Roman armour.

Jan was determined to save her uncle's work and open it as a space to inspire others.

Now the ex-Pulp frontman, famous for the song 'Common People', has signed up as a patron of 'Ron's Place', to give it worldwide recognition.

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She and her partner Chris Teasdale have launched a Patreon appeal where people can donate a small amount of money every month to help fund its restoration.

Jarvis said: "Art from the usual channels has become so entwined with commerce. The rush that you get from creativity has kind of got a bit obscured.

"That's one of the things that attracted me to Outsider Art, it feels like it was seeing it in a purer form.

"They are 100% committed to whatever vision they have got because they are in it – they are sleeping in it, they are eating in it. And that's quite a thing to behold."

Ron died in September 2019, a month before his 80th birthday.

He had always displayed unusual behaviour, but friends say he had become more eccentric in his later years.

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Ron was also known for his bizarre dress sense and would walk the streets of Oxton Village dressed in homemade military costumes.

He often pushed an old-fashioned pram filled with cement bags used to build his enormous fireplaces.

'Outsider artists' usually work outside the mainstream art world and often have no formal training.

But Ron studied at the Laird School of Art in Birkenhead and because of Jarvis' support his work will now have a higher profile.

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Martin said: "Jarvis' involvement will make a massive difference because it brings national and international credibility to the place.

"Otherwise there's a risk it can be seen as parochial when it's something really important.

"We went all over the world looking at these sorts of places and there's nothing like it in the UK. It's a rare thing generally to find such an alternative environment that's been built in secret."

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