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AN aspiring street artist has told how his close friendship with his grandfather inspired his work.

Having never studied art, it was only when the Christ Fleming discovered a treasured stenciling kit once owned by his grandfather, Robert, that his talent flourished.

Now his first commissioned work, a mural, has been spray-painted onto a disused building on Shields Road, Byker, as part of Newcastle's Heaton Arts Festival.

The artist's grandfather died of prostate cancer in 2008, and Chris now works using the same stenciling method he used.

The 32-year-old, originally from Gateshead, said: "It has taken me years to get to this point, but I am totally self-taught and am still learning all the time.

"It seems almost fated that my granddad had these in his belongings and I hope that I may have inherited my talent from him."

Robert, of Leam Lane, Gateshead, left behind his artist's kit when he died aged 81.

A retired Durham Light infantry man and lift engineer, Robert fitted the lifts in the Baltic when it was still a flour mill. Now, decades later, his grandson has featured in the gallery, also using stencils. Chris, a Newcastle University zoology graduate, discovered his talent and sold stencil paintings at markets while travelling in Australia, using his old dissection kit to cut the stencils. He said: "It's just something I started doing. I realised that I enjoyed stenciling and started giving people them as presents.

"Then, as I got better and sold some of the work, it gave me the confidence to carry on."


HOLE-HEARTED Artist Chris Fleming began his creative career after discovering his late grandfather's stenciling equipment
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Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Sep 15, 2011
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