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The Guardian - Croydon

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'Aside from gold and safes, the surest investment in this current climate is art, as demonstrated by Damien Hirst’s banking of £111 million overnight at an auction of his pickled cows and other oddities.

If you don’t have a spare £9million to invest in a tiger shark basking in formaldehyde, you could instead visit the Affordable Art Fair in Battersea Park from Thursday which features thousands of paintings, sculpture, photography and original prints - all priced under £3,000.

Or, you could head to John Bloxham’s charming gallery on St John’s Hill, where the talented Paul Mellia unveils his debut exhibition, entitled “Mistresses of the Universe” featuring fast cars and even faster women.

The artist has recently moved to Wandsworth after a spell in LA, so choosing the John Bloxham Gallery to install his debut exhibition was an obvious choice; “There were fifteen or so galleries who wanted to showcase the work but I chose John’s, I have always thought it was a nice gallery and its just round the corner!”

Having sold many works worldwide, Paul’s style is to faithful to the original characteristics of his subjects, adding a 3D airbrush effect to make it appear photographic; “It’s not pretentious, there’s no subliminal messages this is simple art. It’s affordable for people to get on that first rung of the ladder.”

“I bought some car pictures I liked and they’ve gone up money wise. It’s an investment as well. People have got money in banks, art is the biggest collectable, people in America and Russia are buying art, if you pick the right person its a bigger investment than anything.”

Influenced by Dali and David Bowie, Paul’s work is striking and bold with the Hollywood great series of legendary beauties looking particulary attractive adorning a picture wall.

Not only talented, Paul is also charitable; “I created a one off canvas of the South African A1 Grand Prix car embossed with the image of Mr Mandela’s 46664 logo which was auctioned at the Durban race and the proceeds donated to the Nelson Mandela foundation. This was televised live on TV and we also sent prints to schools in South Africa.”

Sharing the same PR company as the legendary Banksy, Paul rubs shoulders with the great and good, counting Seal amongst his best friends; “We met years ago when I was doing the windows in a shop in the Kings Road, he was working for a clothes company. I have done a picture for his house.”

Paul Mellia’s “Mistresses of the Universe” opens at John Bloxham on the 23rd October. For more information about Paul visit www.paulmellia.com.'