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It's Bicasso; ARTIST'S BIRO MASTERPIECES.

Byline: BY LUCY THORNTON

TALENTED Troy Howe is making a name for himself in the art world - by flawlessly recreating classic paintings in Biro.

The 37-year-old has got rave reviews for his versions of the Mona Lisa, Girl With A Pearl Earring and portraits of the Queen and actor Morgan Freeman.

But playwright Troy only discovered his talent as he was aimlessly doodling on a pad while struggling with writer's block. Kenyan-born Troy said: "When I first moved to the UK I was living in a cramped environment and found I just couldn't write in those conditions.

"I'd only done art at school and I never had any ambition to get into it before this.

"I would just realise that I'd been squiggling away for hours and then one day I went into the kitchen to get a cup of tea and when I came back I realised that I could see images in my doodles.

"After that I practised hour after hour to teach myself how to create proper images. It's quite amazing."

Unmarried Troy, who fled Kenya after he was harassed by officials over the political content of his plays, can create four sketches with a single Biro.

He said: "I use Biro pens because they are so cheap. When I came to this country I had hardly any money so I want to show people that anyone can afford to be creative. It takes me about eight to 16 hours to create the smaller pieces and a bit longer for the bigger ones. The darker the pictures are the more time it tends to take squiggling over and over the image."

Troy has exhibited his work at Leeds University and is hoping to spread the word of his unique technique.

He said: "Hopefully I will be able to make a living out of it one day. But for now I do it because I love it and want people to see what I can do.

"I think it's nice to do something slightly different from the norm. I have heard of other artists working with Biro but no one that uses the squiggle technique of mine." Now Troy is working with different colours and types of ballpoint pens to create even more textures and styles.

Biro makers Bic said yesterday they may work with Troy in the future.

A spokeswoman added: "Troy's artwork is spectacular. Bic is delighted Troy feels its products are ideal for drawing. We look forward to seeing what he comes up with next."

When I came to Britain I hadn't any money. I hope to show that anyone can afford to be creative

TROY HOWE

CAPTION(S):

MAJESTIC His portrait of Queen; INKREDIBLE Troy's take on a Dutch classic; PEN PORTRAIT Morgan Freeman; DOODLE KING Artist Troy Howe
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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Aug 27, 2008
Words:465
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