Drawing on his hobby to set up an art studio

George Shotton has opened his own art studio in North Shields. Picture by Ian McClelland.
George Shotton has opened his own art studio in North Shields. Picture by Ian McClelland.
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An amateur artist has turned his love for painting into a business.

George Shotton has taken the step to open an art studio in Saville Street, North Shields.

The 60-year-old, who has spent his life painting and creating pieces of art, has opened the doors to Worpaint Studios.

It features an eclectic collection of George’s own work which includes his humorous take on well-known vintage advertisements to wooden cut-outs of famous pop icons, alongside traditional acrylic portraits.

The father-of-four has featured on the walls of regional museums and galleries, but in recent years he has faced some personal difficulties and has spent a number of years out of work.

Art has remained a huge part of his life and he believes it has helped him to steer through the troubled times.

Having been referred to an art therapy group in North Shields to help him to cope with his problems, George was able to help others on the course to improve their own painting techniques and quickly became a volunteer helper.

He said: “I’ve loved art for as long as I can remember but when I was a lad in Shields, you just didn’t really work as an artist, it wasn’t a proper job.

“So when I left school at the age of 14, I eventually found work as a screen printer. But I wasn’t the easiest teenager and sitting cleaning metal for hours on end in a dark basement just didn’t cut it for me.

“So I retrained as a tool and cutter grinder and whilst I enjoyed it, I would spend my lunch hours making pieces of art with the machinery.”

George has also been a window cleaner, run a bar in Spain and worked as a security guard.

He added: “I’ve always made time for art and kept a small studio space wherever I’ve lived, but I never really thought it could be a way to make a living. It’s been a tough few years but art has kept me going and I’m really hoping that this studio marks a turning point in my life.”

George was supported by North Tyneside Council’s The Business Factory, which helped him create a workable business plan.

He said: “I’m keen to support other local amateur artists and I’m hoping to be able to offer them hanging space inside the studio and hopefully give them the break that they too need.”

You can find George creating pieces of art at Worpaint Studios on Saville Street every day from 10.30 am until 7pm.

As well as selling the pieces he has on display, together with a range of mugs and plaques featuring his work, George also takes commissions.