Creative souls are perhaps the most intriguing, particularly artists who go under an alias name and thrive on being anything but conventional.
Often they carry on under the radar until something happens on their journey to bring them into the limelight or gain the recognition their work deserves.
On the upward peak of that journey is an Exeter artist who has amassed a huge following on social media, has decorated the wall of a local pub with his work, and can count comedian Leigh Francis (better known as Keith Lemon) and Exeter Chiefs player Jack Nowell as among his fans.
They all know him by his alias – LP Edits – but the real person behind the name is a private dad-of-one who lives in Exeter.
He introduces himself as Lewis, but politely declines to disclose his surname to protect his privacy. He begrudgingly admits to being in his ‘late 30s’, but immediately becomes animated when talking about his ‘hobby’ which provides him with an escapism from day-to-day life.
Again reluctant to give too much away, Lewis chooses not to reveal what he does for his full-time job, but happily credits his nan for his artistic genes and says it was she who inspired him to pursue his artistic talents.
He recalled: “I have always been interested in art and have dabbled in and out of it all my life. I don’t see it as a career; I use it more as a hobby and to help with my mental health.
“Some people go to the gym or run whereas I use art as a creative release, and I love it.
“I have a day job and turn into an artist by night. Initially the reason I got into it was I was struggling a lot with my metal health.
“I had tried everything else. I used to be a really keen runner and always went to the gym and did other things to distract my mind from everyday life.
“I had never really had the time or found the time to do art, and then one day I decided to give it a go and it naturally grew from there.
“The name LP Edits stands for Lewis Prints Edits because my initial idea was to sell prints for people to buy. But then it grew into something I was not expecting.”
Out on the streets of Exeter, two examples of his work can be seen. The most prominent can be found on the side of The Bowling Green pub in Blackboy Road.
It’s where you can see his own unique modern day take on the iconic image of the BBC Test Card F of a girl with a clown doll playing noughts and crosses on a blackboard.
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It was created last November in an attempt to bring a boost to the struggling hospitality industry and the pub agreed to have it on its wall. The original piece of artwork hangs inside the pub.
Tucked away like a hidden treasure is Lewis’s second public artwork – a commemorative piece following the death of The Prodigy frontman Keith Flint to highlight mental health and to appeal to people to talk rather than suffer in silence.
It was created as part of Exeter Arts Festival two years ago and can be found in Musgrave Rowe around the side of Exeter Phoenix, but is now partially covered in vines.
However, Lewis is quick to point out that he is not a street artist as it’s not something he does very often.
“I would not call myself anything,” he said. “It’s just something I enjoy doing and I wouldn’t like to title it.
“My work is contemporary and has abstract elements, and bits of urban art. I’m also inspired by pop-up art.
“I call it a colourful eyeball exercise because the stuff I do exercises peoples’ eyes with it. My work does not really need to have a meaning, although a lot of it does to me personally.
“I prefer to keep it nice, simple and colourful and put some nice messages into it. I try not to offend anyone if I can because there’s enough in the world that upsets people. I try my hardest to create things people will enjoy looking at.
“I always try and use things people know in my work such as objects and icons to have that instant connection. I sometimes change it around to add a bit of comical value to get peoples’ emotions going.
“I like to use retro stuff from the era I’m from which I enjoyed as I grew up.”
Familiar faces that have appeared in Lewis’s work include Elvis Presley, ET, Marilyn Monroe, Elmo and Winston Churchill.
Lewis’s work has generated a large following on Instagram, and among his fans he can list is none other than comedian Keith Lemon who is now the proud owner of an original piece of his artwork. He has also painted Exeter Chiefs player Jack Nowell’s
“I like where I have got to at the moment,” admits Lewis. “Last year was absolutely mad and ended on a huge high by getting to meet Keith Lemon to give him a piece of my art.
“That came about because someone tagged him in on a piece of art I did and I got talking to him. He liked the piece of art so I gave it to him.
“It definitely shows the nice side of social media.”
The platform was also used by Lewis to launch his LP Treasure Hunt last autumn. Across the city he hid four pieces of his original artwork and launched a challenge for people to find them.
Lewis, who has used his talents to raise over £4,000 for Exeter Leukaemia Foundation (ELF) who helped his dad, and over £4,000 for the NHS Together Charity, said: “I just thought it would be fun and would get people out of the house and brighten up their day a bit.
“I will do more and as I live in Exeter it will be the city, but one day I would love to hide them around the whole of the UK.
“I pretty much giveaway art on a weekly basis through competitions, live feeds and Instagram. Some people think art is something that is too expensive. I give it away so people can appreciate it and get a feel for it.
“I don’t think I have any more achievements as such I want to fulfil. I like things to grow naturally as then it’s more real. But I do have plans in mind that I want to happen.”
To check out Lewis’s work on Instagram click here