He may be more White Van Man than van Gogh but Rick Minns, aka Ruddy Muddy, shares the 19th-century Dutch post-impressionist painter's penchant for brightening up people's lives with the rough beauty of his artwork.
Flower delivery man Rick, 39, is a trailblazer too, initiating his own artistic genre called “grafilthy”. This involves getting his hands filthy through creating works of art on the side of his van. Rick, who works for Norfolk-based floral wholesaler Flowervision, produces pictures in 10 minutes by scraping away the dirt on the side of his vehicle.
They include wintry landscapes, children playing in the snow and a ship on high seas. Living in South Norfolk, Rick says grafilthy began as “just a bit of fun” while he was delivering flowers:
“Work might prefer it if I washed my van more regularly but this is better than me driving around in a boring old dirty van.”
Drawing on his A-level art experience and current adult art classes, Rick started drawing on vans with his fingertips two years ago when he produced his first work, a raw mountain scene. Since then his work has evolved and the artist uses a variety of art supplies including cotton buds and tissues to forge more elaborate, sophisticated effects. Every few days he wipes his vehicle down to create a new canvas:
“It's always a shame to wipe away a picture I'm proud of. Then again, it's nice to start afresh - it's just frustrating waiting for the van to get dirty enough.”
However, with much of his time spent on country roads, this doesn't take long. Rick immortalises his work on camera, posting photographs on Facebook and Twitter, where he is starting to develop a loyal audience. He can be found on Twitter and Facebook where uploads his new work and plans for future peices which he plans with charcoal.
Rick added: “We have six vans at work. Two of the guys keep theirs nice and clean but I draw on the others. It's just nice to see the smile on people's faces when they notice.”
Now he wants his work to raise charity money as well as make us smile. Whatever happens, “van Minns” can take consolation that he is far more appreciated as a living artist than van Gogh ever was.
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