High Street cafe become colourful canvas for teen graffiti
A SPECTACULAR graffiti talent has been given an unusual blank canvas – the walls of a High Street cafe.
Annette's Diner, in Cheltenham's lower High Street, is radiant with colour after employing the help of aspiring young graffiti artist Howie Thompson.
The 15-year-old from Charlton Kings was let loose on the empty walls, and he has changed the entire diner into his own stylish exhibition.
The Balcarras School pupil, who is also doing a GCSE in art, has been taking photographs of graffiti for four years before deciding to pick up the spray can himself.
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He said: "I do enjoy doing graffiti, and it's something I picked up after doing some photography.
"There is a difference between what adults think about graffiti and people my age think about it. Some adults might frown upon it, but most people my age think it's quite cool actually.
"I'm very grateful that Annette has given me the opportunity to showcase some of my work. Very few people have the chance to do it legally."
The aspiring artist, who is looking to study graphic design at Gloucestershire College next year, has already stamped his mark on the town.
He worked with artist Kevin Parker on a council-approved project to brighten the hoardings around Cheltenham art gallery and museum.
"I would like it to become a career, hopefully," said Howie.
"It is quite hard to find stuff like this around here, and I would definitely like to do it in the future.
"Graphic design is great as well, and I like being creative with letters."
His mother Colette said she was glad he had a canvas on which to display his work. She added: "I'm really proud he is using his talents in the right way. Hopefully, it will lead to more and different opportunities for him."
Annette Hamblin, who owns the diner, said the idea changed her perspective on graffiti.
She said: "I think it makes people notice the diner a bit more, and some of my customers have asked me about it.
"I'm delighted with the work, and he's only so young, especially when he's self-taught. Everyone who comes in here is talking about it.
"I want him to do more now. There are empty walls upstairs, and I want him to do the bathroom as well. It's fantastic. I've changed my menus to matching colours, and the younger people really like it."