A CWMBRAN graffiti artist has exchanged the streets for a gallery, with his first ever exhibition in Newport this summer.

Rob Carlton, 43, is a fully-fledged artist since converting his dining room into a studio.

His relationship with graffiti goes back to his teenage years, when he was a student at Llantarnam high school.

“I started doing graffiti around 1985. It was when hip-hop came out. Some went into the DJ-ing side, others the graffiti,” he said.

“I gave it up for a while and had a family. But four years ago my passions started to come back. I’d always had this vision of doing it on wooden boards.

“I was made redundant for the third time, so I just gave this a shot and went all in. I thought I’m going to do what I always wanted to do.”

Mr Carlton is self-taught and his work now includes a lot of portraiture, working from models and from pictures.

This exhibition, Graffology is his first and features recognisable faces from Tom Jones to Adele, painted in acrylic.

“Everything stems from points in my life,” explained the father-of-one. “They’re all things I’ve grown up with.

Mr Carlton, or ‘Panik’, which is his tag name, said the Amy Winehouse piece was the most fun to do.

“Everything comes as I go along. Like with the Amy one, I got really into it and just listened to all the music and immersed myself,” he said. “It’s the whole experience, not just the image.”

Each piece can take anywhere between two days and two weeks to complete.

He said: “I was a bit shy about showing my work until recently.

“I took a couple of pieces down to the gallery and asked Janet to have a look. She had some faith.

“There’s been some good feedback. I’m just happy to see it on a wall. It’s not as intimidating as some graffiti.”

The exhibition will be at Barnabas Arts House in New Ruperra Street, Newport until the end of August. All of the pieces are for sale. His second exhibition will be at the Riverfront, from the end of the summer.