Shop manager tries his hand at painting with amazing results
- Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown
A shop manager who painted the places he wished he could visit during lockdown is now seeing success as an artist.
Tom Crittenden, manager of the Adnams shop in Bury St Edmunds, took up painting just a few months before the coronavirus pandemic hit and says lockdown "fast-tracked" his art.
The 44-year-old, who is from an artistic family, said: "I almost had a bit of an epiphany. I had proper paintings, not prints, in my apartment in Bury.
"I thought 'I'm paying quite a lot for these'. I thought with my family history I could produce something half-decent myself."
He added: "You have to make a decision during lockdown - do I sit at home watching Netflix or fill my time with something more productive?"
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Tom's dad was an art teacher, and there are artists in his family going back generations.
But Tom said he hadn't really done any art in 25 years.
He is now well-known locally in Bury St Edmunds for his drawings and paintings of familiar scenes and buildings, such as Angel Hill, the Norman Tower, the Market Cross and Nowton Park.
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"I just paint a place I like, and it's like looking out of a window," he said. "When lockdown started, I couldn't go to any of these places so I started painting them at home."
He added: "In the last year, it's kept me going really."
He said people often have an emotional connection with his work, as it captures a place that means something to them.
"It's very humbling the effect the pictures have had on people," he added.
He started off creating silhouettes, and now produces sketches and acrylic paintings.
He uses vibrant colours and describes his style as a cross between Impressionism and Realism.
Last year he took 31 commissions, but has put commissions on hold to focus on his own painting, which has taken off.
"I want to take it to the next level, my type of painting," said Tom, who taught himself how to paint.
He is known for his Bury St Edmunds scenes, and has also captured Southwold, but he said ultimately he wants to be known as a Suffolk artist.
He described the coronavirus pandemic as "almost like an artistic rebirth in a way".
"There's no way without lockdown I would have been able to do this. That's why I say it will be called a 'lockdown movement'."
Social media has played a huge role in getting his art out there, and Tom now has his own Facebook page for his work.