Celebrity portrait artist Jamie Wilkinson paints David Beckham with strangers

All photography by CK Goldiing and courtesy of the artist

Jamie Wilkinson is a self-taught artist who paints incredible portraits of celebrities, many of whom he's met in person.

It began on Twitter following encouragement from friends and soon turned into a professional venture. The Rotherham artist is now staging his first exhibition in Sheffield, presenting his latest series of artworks.

Entitled '7' after the number George Best wore during his football career, the show will run from 11 until 17 November at Studio November, Carver House.

To announce his upcoming exhibition, Jamie set up his easel in Sheffield city centre recently, inviting shoppers to help him create a painting of David Beckham. The footballer also wore the number seven. (You can watch what happened here.)

"To say I was nervous is an understatement," admits Wilkinson. "I've never painted in public before, in fact, I've never painted outside of my kitchen before [laughs], but with my first ever Sheffield exhibition approaching, I desperately wanted to get to know the city."

He adds: "I aimed to encourage everyone, regardless of their concerns about 'messing it up'. I wasn't interested in creating something perfect, I just wanted to share the joy painting brings me." says Wilkinson. "Seeing everyone smile as they picked up a brush was incredible."

A lab technician at Brinsworth Academy by day, Jamie has met most of the celebrities he paints, including Sir Alex Ferguson, Jessica Ennis and Jack Whitehall.

"It all started a few years ago when I created a Twitter account to stop my friends pestering me," he recalls. "They always used to ask me to show them my latest work, sometimes even grabbing my phone to see the snaps I'd taken of them. By using Twitter, I was able to post my work publicly, and best of all, my phone was safe."

Tweeting the celebrities he'd painted, it wasn't long until they tweeted back. Football legend George Best's son, Calum, was the first to respond. "Calum was the first public figure to encourage me online, and shortly after his kind words, we met. He now has the painting I did of his dad, and I love that."

© CK Goldiing

© CK Goldiing

© CK Goldiing

© CK Goldiing

© CK Goldiing

© CK Goldiing

© CK Goldiing

© CK Goldiing

© CK Goldiing

© CK Goldiing

© CK Goldiing

© CK Goldiing

© CK Goldiing

© CK Goldiing

© CK Goldiing

© CK Goldiing

© CK Goldiing

© CK Goldiing

© CK Goldiing

© CK Goldiing

© CK Goldiing

© CK Goldiing