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Born and bred in Middlesbrough, Sean Durkin’s path to becoming an artist is quite the tale and adds the impact and poignancy of his work.

In 1972, his father, John Durkin, stole and held for ransom a Lowry painting of Middlesbrough Town Hall and Saint Hilda’s Church from the local art gallery. In exchange for the painting’s safe return, he demanded that the Lord Mayor raffle his underpants for charity and that the gallery be installed with a better alarm system as well as be opened on Sundays “to allow the working man to get some culture”.

Only a boy of eight at the time, Sean recalls coming downstairs the following morning to find the stolen painting on the mantelpiece. Little did he realise how much of an effect that painting would have on his life and how it would inspire him to become an artist himself.

Today, Sean’s atmospheric work pays tribute to the memory of that stolen painting. He enjoys creating rough, textured surfaces to suit the grittiness and mood of his paintings. His paintings are furthermore full of narrative, prompting the viewer to wonder about the lives of the ‘matchstick’ people within. Sean himself adds to this narrative by including a burglar and a policeman in every painting as a reminder of his father’s sensational stunt.

Sean's paintings continue to captivate audiences across the country, bringing him great success as an artist. In a rather ironic twist of fate, his work now hangs on public display in the prestigious Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art (MIMA) next to the very same L.S. Lowry painting his father once stole. Sean holds regular exhibitions in his native North East, and has been featured on BBC TV, as well as numerous radio stations and newspapers.

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£595.00

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