A YOUNG artist has just won his first commission at the age of 11- following in the footsteps of three generations of his artistic family.
Matthew George Johnson has been hired to create a painting for the living room of a family home in Spennymoor, County Durham.
They spotted his talent at The Bob Abley Gallery at Spennymoor Town Hall, where a collection of his work is currently displayed alongside that of four members of his family.
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Matthew, from Tudhoe, near Spennymoor, said: “It feels amazing, in one sense it is just like doing another painting but I realise it is a commission because someone really likes my work and trusts me to magic up another.”
Mother Lynn Rocks said: “It will be the main piece of art in their front room, to put that confidence in Matthew to produce something that will be a focal point for the whole room is pretty special.
“I’m very proud of him.”
Creativity is in Matthew’s blood as his mother, grandfather, Colin Richardson, and older twin brothers, Chris and Steve Rocks, are all professional artists.
He said: “They have been role models.
“When I was about seven I saw Mam counting out loads of money after selling a painting and thought, that job sounds good to me.”
Matthew first had his work exhibited when he was just five-years-old- at an art fair at The Sage, in Gateshead- yet one of his proudest achievements remains a ‘happy certificate’ he won for a picture at Tudhoe Colliery Primary School.
Much of Matthew’s work is abstract, often painted in oils, and inspired by everything from Mother Nature to computer games.
He said: “Probably the best thing about art is watching people’s reactions, a picture is whatever they imagine it is.
“Mam did a flower, white and yellow in the middle, but when I looked I thought it looked like fried eggs.”
Art is not Matthew’s only talent as he also plays the ukulele , break dances, performs card tricks and acts.
He said: “I’ve given it a lot of thought but don’t know what I want to do as a career, it would be great to do something I enjoy.”
Ms Rocks said: “Matthew has always been a performer and very enterprising, he once charged people £1 entry to a free event and made £6 before he was rumbled.”