Norwich artist 'complimented' as thieves nick four of his paintings

Matthew Bowles' lamppost art appeared all over NR2. Did you spot any of them?

Matthew Bowles' lamppost art appeared all over NR2. Did you spot any of them? - Credit: Matthew Bowles

A Norwich painter livening up NR2 with his lamppost art says he is honoured that a handful were pinched by passers-by.

Matthew Bowles is a retired printer living in Norwich — and only began taking painting seriously three years ago.

Between September 25 and October 10, you might have seen his creations adorning lampposts at 14 different spots in and around the city, from Unthank Road all the way to Vauxhall Street.

A self-portrait of Matthew Bowles

A self-portrait of Matthew Bowles - Credit: Matthew Bowles

Designed to be "accessible", and blend in with the scenery, the paintings show snapshots of their surrounding environment.

But not all made it home safely, as four of Mr Bowles' favourites were nicked in plain sight. 

The 68-year-old said: "Norfolk Open Studios runs for two weeks every year and involves artists opening their studios to the public, and maybe giving them some tea and biscuits or something.

"This year was the first since 2019 because of the pandemic.

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"I'm part of a collective working out of Norwich Art Shop on Upper St Giles Street, and for my contribution I wanted to quite literally open my studio by putting up my art in public places.

"I have to admit, I thought it was really quite complementary to see my work get stolen.

"It's hardly as if it flies off the shelves, so it was a bit of a boost."

Matthew Bowles' artwork was positioned all over the city for a fortnight as part of Norfolk Open Studios

Matthew Bowles' artwork was positioned all over the city for a fortnight as part of Norfolk Open Studios - Credit: Matthew Bowles

In light of the pandemic, Mr Bowles said the art world had been hit hard — but was bouncing back.

He said: "After those of us in Norwich Art Shop put ourselves out there on the Open Studios trail, there were so many more people coming through the doors.

"The issue with the art world is that it's a very crowded market. There's lots of us selling art, but not a lot of people buying it.

"I think that's why people like my art: it's pictures of streets where people grew up, things they can recognise. And it's not going to cost you a fortune." 

Mr Bowles said one of the paintings is still in place — just behind Fabulous Frames on Upper St Giles Street — but asked that any thieves might go through the proper channels if they'd like a copy.

Matthew Bowles' artwork was positioned all over the city for a fortnight as part of Norfolk Open Studios

Matthew Bowles' artwork was positioned all over the city for a fortnight as part of Norfolk Open Studios - Credit: Matthew Bowles

Matthew Bowles artwork could be spotted all over the city

Matthew Bowles artwork could be spotted all over the city - Credit: Matthew Bowles

Matthew Bowles artwork appeared all over NR2

Matthew Bowles artwork appeared all over NR2 - Credit: Matthew Bowles

The artwork was spotted on Unthank Road

The artwork was spotted on Unthank Road - Credit: Matthew Bowles

Matthew Bowles' artwork

Matthew Bowles' artwork - Credit: Matthew Bowles

Matthew Bowles' lamppost art

Matthew Bowles' lamppost art - Credit: Matthew Bowles

Matthew Bowles' lamppost art

Matthew Bowles' lamppost art - Credit: Matthew Bowles

​​​​​​​Matthew Bowles' lamppost art

Matthew Bowles' lamppost art - Credit: Matthew Bowles

Matthew Bowles' lamppost art

Matthew Bowles' lamppost art - Credit: Matthew Bowles


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