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Cally painter Dan Storey on staging his first exhibition – 27 years after he gave up art at school

PUBLISHED: 14:00 17 May 2018

Dan Storey in his Cally Road studio. Picture: Eelinn Vanquaethem

Dan Storey in his Cally Road studio. Picture: Eelinn Vanquaethem

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Cally man Dan Storey gave up art at 15 despite loving it. Now 42, he tells the Gazette about his first exhibition, which is running until June.

One of Dan Storey's paintings. Picture: Dan Storey One of Dan Storey's paintings. Picture: Dan Storey

Standing in his Cally Road workspace is Dan Storey, 42. Without hesitation, he puts brush to canvas – there’s no sketching and no whitewashing.

“I’ve gone over all of it in my head,” he said.

“I know what I’m going to do and I know what it’s going to look like,” said Dan, who grew up in Archway.

“There’s no fear at all. There is no uncertainty.”

One of Dan Storey's paintings. Picture: Dan Storey One of Dan Storey's paintings. Picture: Dan Storey

Dan is quite confident in what he does, despite only having picked up painting again about two years ago.

When Dan was 15, he dropped out of school and consequently also gave up on the one class he actually enjoyed – art.

Thinking back to his art classes, he said: “I wasn’t in school; I was in a place I felt I belonged.”

But before leisure, “the bills have to be paid”, so Dan has been putting his passion on hold for more than a quarter of a century.

Dan Storey in his Cally Road studio. Picture: Dan Storey Dan Storey in his Cally Road studio. Picture: Dan Storey

During a period of unemployment, Dan found a canvas with a child’s drawing on it in a dustbin.

He whitewashed it and “just went straight for the oil paints”.

His creativity was sparked and soon he began painting on scraps of wood he took home from work he did as a freelance handyman.

After getting a full-time job in construction, he was finally able to “get back in the right frame of mind” and be financially stable, which allowed him to buy the equipment he needed.

Dan Storey in his Cally Road studio. Picture: Eelinn Vanquaethem Dan Storey in his Cally Road studio. Picture: Eelinn Vanquaethem

Now, Dan has beaten the odds and will be holding his first art exhibition over the next month.

While he was initially intimidated by the space provided by Lauderdale House in Highgate, just over the border into Haringey, Dan managed to paint about 20 artworks since August.

He says: “I know I had to do it. I wasn’t afraid. I had to fill that room.”

The paintings are inspired by Hampstead Heath, where he grew up, views he has seen when repairing pubs along the Thames, and pictures of several other landscapes that have been sent to him by friends or family.

Dan Storey in his Cally Road studio. Picture: Dan Storey Dan Storey in his Cally Road studio. Picture: Dan Storey

He even goes so far as to describe his phone as a “sketchbook”, as he often looks up images online to get inspired.

Dan is now hoping this exhibition will be the “springboard” to becoming a professional painter.

“The future looks quite confident,” he said.

“I’m trying not to get too excited, but we will see what happens.”

Dan Storey in his Cally Road studio. Picture: Eelinn Vanquaethem Dan Storey in his Cally Road studio. Picture: Eelinn Vanquaethem

Dan’s exhibition will run until June 12 at Lauderdale House, N6 5HG

Dan Storey in his Cally Road studio. Picture: Eelinn Vanquaethem Dan Storey in his Cally Road studio. Picture: Eelinn Vanquaethem

Dan Storey in his Cally Road studio. Picture: Eelinn Vanquaethem Dan Storey in his Cally Road studio. Picture: Eelinn Vanquaethem

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