Portrait artist Glen Folan has had more than a brush with celebrity.
Glen, 29, of Milnsbridge, has found a niche painting stars of stage, screen and sporting arenas.
From Hollywood stars such as Al Pacino, Jean-Claude Van Damme and Vinnie Jones to sporting icons such as Geoff Hurst, Joe Calzaghe and Tyson Fury, Glen has captured them all.
His latest work will see him come face-to-face with arguably the most famous of them all – Brazilian soccer superstar Pele, regarded by many as the greatest footballer of all time.
Dad-of-one Glen is self-taught and took up art while serving a prison sentence.
On his release he set about rebuilding his life and has never looked back.
Glen said: “Art has changed my life and my past is in the past.
“I have found something that I love and, fortunately, others love what I do too.”
Glen got into the celebrity scene after going to a sporting dinner starring the ex-boxing champ Evander Holyfield in Huddersfield.
He painted a portrait and took it along to be signed. Holyfield was impressed but, just as importantly, so was his promoter.
That first venture into the world of celebrity led to a string of commissions from some big names.
“Some of the celebrities absolutely love them,” said Glen. “I auctioned a picture of Tyson Fury, the boxer, and he liked it so much he ended up buying it for himself.
“And I did a painting of Geoff Hurst, the World Cup winner, being hugged by Martin Peters. Even though it’s a back view he prefers that to the iconic image of him scoring ‘that’ goal in 1966.”
Hurst choked back the tears as he told Glen that Peters – now stricken with Alzheimer’s disease – was his best friend in football.
Glen’s favourite star was tough guy Jean-Claude Van Damme, famous for his martial arts movies.
Glen met him in Manchester and said: “He was just awesome. What a great character.”
Next stop on his celebrity road trip is Pele in London, Birmingham and Manchester in June.
Glen’s currently working on his Pele portrait and can’t wait to get it signed and meet the man himself.
All his paintings are oil on canvas and each one takes a week to produce – though sometimes Glen works for up to 14 hours a day.
Glen is making a living from his painting but is coy about how much his work sells for.
From now on Glen’s ambition is simple.
“I want to make my signature the most important signature on the painting,” he said.