Business owner and graffiti artist strike up unlikely partnership after usherette art proves a hit

ART ATTACK: Malcolm Hepper of Malcolm Hepper Framing on Whessoe Road, Darlington next to a newly created piece of graffiti on the side of his shop by graffiti artist Karl Striker

ART ATTACK: Malcolm Hepper of Malcolm Hepper Framing on Whessoe Road, Darlington next to a newly created piece of graffiti on the side of his shop by graffiti artist Karl Striker

ART ATTACK: Malcolm Hepper of Malcolm Hepper Framing on Whessoe Road, Darlington next to a newly created piece of graffiti on the side of his shop by graffiti artist Karl Striker

First published in News
Last updated

CONFRONTED with a front door full of graffiti on a Monday morning, most business owners would be upset and some would consider calling the police.

But not Malcolm Hepper, who was delighted to find a full size image of a smiling cinema usherette – complete with her colourful spray paint wares – on the door of his picture framing business in Darlington’s Whessoe Road when he arrived at work today (Monday).

The spray-painted stencil image was created by urban artist Karl Striker, whose works have appeared around the region.

After recognising the work as Middlesbrough-based Mr Striker’s, Mr Hepper contacted him through his website to thank him for the work, which has led to an unlikely partnership between the street artist and picture framer, with Mr Hepper agreeing to display some of his work in his shop.

The artist mainly operates around the Teesside area and fiercely protects his identity, sharing his latest works of art online on his website and on picture-sharing service Instagram.

Mr Hepper said he had seen an example of Mr Striker’s work in Darlington earlier this year, when an image of a young boy with a supersoaker appeared on the side of a pizza shop in Northgate, but never expected that he would end up with his own Striker piece.

He said: “I came into work and saw that the building had been tagged with graffiti and as I looked at it I could see that it was Karl Striker’s work. I’m not angry, I’m actually really happy about it.

“It really looks good and I’m chuffed to bits with it.

After exchanging emails with the artist, Mr Hepper agreed to frame up some of Mr Striker's smaller prints and display them for sale.

He added: “I’m not actually a gallery, I don’t usually sell art I just frame it up for other people, but I thought it would be nice to have a few pieces of his to put on show.

“I can use it to show that I can frame different types of work too.”

Although Mr Hepper is pleased with his unexpected new artwork he is not encouraging others to add their own tag to his shop.

He added: “I just hope it doesn’t mean other people think they can come and start spray painting all the walls – this is the only bit of graffiti I want.”

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