Art phenomenon is town’s own ‘Banksy’

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He guards his privacy and so wants to remain anonymous, but Spalding’s version of Banksy – who goes by the tag of Zinsky – is gaining a large following for his pop art... which is fetching thousands of pounds.

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BEING talent-spotted, mentored and given the encouragement and freedom to paint for a ready market is every unknown artist’s dream, and not one that comes along often.

But that’s exactly what happened to one talented Spalding man in his early 30s who goes by the name of Zinsky. Yet he’s never had an art lesson in his life!

Today, Zinsky paintings are in high demand and fetch thousands of pounds. Plus he has been signed by De Montfort, the UK’s leading publisher and distributor of original artwork – a far cry from three years ago when he was despairing of ever making a career from his only passion in life, art. But a chance encounter and conversation with Spalding’s Lincolnshire Gallery owner, Mark Fisher, opened the doors to an art world phenomenon.

Mark explains: “I got talking to a person who’d come into the gallery to buy some materials, who said they wished their friend could earn a living from his fantastic paintings. Something about this person made me suggest that if the artist could produce a pop art-type portrait in 24 hours I might be interested in having him paint stuff for the gallery’s Christmas market.

“Well, he did – and the paint was still wet when I was presented with an amazing portrait of Babyshambles singer Pete Docherty. The hairs stood up at the back of my neck because I knew I’d found something quite incredible!

“I asked if he could produce half a dozen more paintings in time for the run-up to Christmas, and provided some canvasses and paints for him to use – so he did, and the lot sold out within weeks. I think they were about £100 apiece...”

For anyone who bought one of those early Zinskys it was a brilliant investment, because now they are worth in the region of £1,500 each.

Then, in 2008, Mark exhibited 60 Zinskys at his gallery and the lot sold within days for around £30,000. Zinsky was on a meteoric rise in the British art world, which is notoriously hard to crack. By the end of that year more paintings were sold – many fetching more than £1,000.

Mark says: “It was amazing, but it didn’t stop there. Zinsky decided to live and work in Barcelona for a while and produced a series of vibrant street scenes and landscapes – quite different from his punchy portrayals of celebrities. These comprised his second exhibition in 2010 – and this time it only took 15 minutes for every single painting to be snapped up by keen collectors.

“Then he was spotted by De Montfort Fine Art and has now signed an exclusive deal with them – which is an awesome turn of events.”

Throughout Zinsky’s remarkable and rapid climb to the forefront of British art, Mark Fisher has played a key role in his career, encouraging him to try different subjects and mediums and also protecting him from the spotlight.

Mark explains: “He’s a very private person. He loves painting – it’s what he lives for and focuses on – but he does not want to have to deal with any of the limelight that goes with the fame he’s achieved.”

To date, Zinsky original art collectors are world-wide, with UK aficionados including TV star Rolf Harris (a celebrated artist himself), HRH Princess Anne and Dragon’s Den multi-millionaire businessman Duncan Ballatyne.

London might have the anonymous urban graffiti artist Banksy, but Spalding can be proud to say it has Zinsky!

• For more information about Zinsky’s work, contact Mark Fisher at the Lincolnshire Gallery on 01775 722921 or email info@lincolnshiregallery.com