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25 years on, handyman Dan realises his art ambition

Finding a canvas in a dustbin revived painter's artistic dream

02 May, 2018 — By William McLennan

Dan Storey, who draws inspiration from famous landscapes, is hosting an exhibition at Lauderdale House

A PUB handyman who started painting landscapes only two years ago is to host an exhibition of his work at Lauderdale House.

Dan Storey had excelled in art at Acland Burghley in the 1980s, but financial pressures meant he dropped out of education and began working in construction at the age of 15.

The 42-year-old said: “I had to go out and work and earn some money. My dreams had to go on hold and they had to wait 25 years until things calmed down.”

Having lost his job in the recession, Mr Storey made a chance discovery that set him on a new course.

“I had no work and was a bit down in the dumps,” he said. “I happened across a canvas in the dustbins, that had some child handprints on. I whitewashed that and just started painting.”

However, financial insecurity still held him back. It was only after two years doing maintenance for pub chain Greene King that he could focus on art.

“I’ve been in this job four years and I finally got my finances sorted and my head clear. Then I could sit down and paint. You can’t do that when you’re worrying about money. You need to be in the right frame of mind.”

Mr Storey still holds down a full-time job, often painting for six-hour sessions on a Sunday.

After securing the exhibition slot last year with only four paintings, he realised that he would have to rapidly increase his output.

Since August, he has completed a further 15 works.

He has drawn much inspiration from Camden’s famous landscapes, with paintings of Hampstead Heath and Waterlow Park among the collection.

“I think about them for weeks, sometimes I put a canvas on an easel and think about it. Then my brain has already done it and I just have to mix up colours and put it on the canvas.”

He hopes the exhibition will give him a platform for his work to speak for itself. He said: “People can be strict on where they came from and what art school they went to. I want people to judge the work, not my background.”

The exhibition opens on May 16 at 7pm. He is being supported by his employers, the Metropolitan Pub Company, with The Vine, Kentish Town Road, providing the opening night catering.

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