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‘I got greedy and got two’ - Art fans snap up free paintings dotted around towns

PUBLISHED: 13:19 07 September 2020 | UPDATED: 13:56 07 September 2020

Artist Greater Than aka Justin Peach with a few of his latest commissions. The 40-year-old is making waves in the art world and celebrated his success by giving away more than a dozen of his works to random strangers who picked them up in the street Picture: Justin Peach

Artist Greater Than aka Justin Peach with a few of his latest commissions. The 40-year-old is making waves in the art world and celebrated his success by giving away more than a dozen of his works to random strangers who picked them up in the street Picture: Justin Peach

Archant

Paintings worth an estimated £1,000 were given away to anyone who stopped and picked one up in multiple town centre locations across Norfolk and Waveney.

Lisa Horton who found two paintings by Greater Than aka Justin Peach in Gorleston Picture: supplied by Justin PeachLisa Horton who found two paintings by Greater Than aka Justin Peach in Gorleston Picture: supplied by Justin Peach

In some cases contemporary artist Greater Than, aka Justin Peach, looked on at a distance as people either walked past warily or snapped up a painting, sharing their good fortune on social media.

Mr Peach, who lives with his wife and four children in Hopton, said he hoped his actions had piqued people’s interest in art.

He said: “A ten year old girl picked up a portrait of The Queen, and that is lovely.

“Whether she likes it or not, or hangs it up, or decides to give it away it might encourage her to think about what she likes or to paint something herself.”

Artist Greater Than, aka Justiin Peach, whose painting giveaway stems from a belief that everyone should have access to art irrespective of their circumstances Picture: Justin PeachArtist Greater Than, aka Justiin Peach, whose painting giveaway stems from a belief that everyone should have access to art irrespective of their circumstances Picture: Justin Peach

The 40-year-old, who paints under the name Greater Than in homage to the phrase ‘love is greater than money’ said it had been fascinating to see how people responsed to the giveaway.

In all he put out some 16 paintings across Great Yarmouth, Gorleston, Bradwell, Lowestoft and Carlton Colville on Sunday (August 6).

Although there was a practical side to the giveaway which would free-up studio space, there was some artistic thinking behind it.

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Leaving his canvases in urban spots was a kind of temporary graffiti that hoped to plant a seed of appreciation in the eyes of people who maybe thought it was beyond their pocket or that art wasn’t for them, he said.

Macey, aged ten, was among a number of art fans who became surprise owners of paintings after finding them in the street Picture: supplied by Justin PeachMacey, aged ten, was among a number of art fans who became surprise owners of paintings after finding them in the street Picture: supplied by Justin Peach

“Many people would be happy to go into a high street shop and pay for a print when in fact they could get some original work by a real artist that no-one else has for less,” he said.

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At Great Yarmouth Market Place he left a David Bowie portrait he thought would be carried off straight away.

In fact he watched as dozens of people walked past it uncertain of the “free” offer and worried about the catch.

He left Sid Vicious outside East Norfolk Sixth Form College and watched as a string of people of all ages stopped to consider it before it was tucked under someone’s arm.

“I enjoyed painting them in the first place, I enjoyed putting them out, and I enjoyed people’s responses.

“I could have tried to sell them but I made people happy,” he added.

As the day progressed the lucky finders started to post photos and comments on his Greater Than page.

Lisa Horton from Gorleston wrote: “Sorry, I got greedy I managed to get two. So pleased with these two fantastic paintings.

“Going to hang them up now.”

Gemma Morton Hill wrote: “Amazing art cheers Greater Than,” and included a picture of her daughter Macey holding a blue pop art portrait of The Queen.

The giveaway also celebrated a year as a professional artist, after people started seeing his work on social media and wanted some for themselves.


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