Move over Banksy! Who would have believed that a book by an ex-young offender would lead to full-time work as an artist that includes helping prisons to brighten their days?
Justin Rollins, author of The Lost Boyz: A Dark Side of Graffiti – adopted as a criminology course text by colleges and universities in places such as Birmingham and Coventry – has progressed to painting murals and similar works for a living, especially in prisons.
His oversize art now adorns establishments such as Highdown, Moorland, Hull, Onley, Rochester and Elmley – to name but a few. Justin has even visited Feltham Young Offender Institution where HM Inspectorate complemented his work.
And he is currently visiting prisons all around England to discuss adding sparkle to their walls as his fame spreads. He is also in discussion with prisons in Wales – including one private contractor – and in Scotland.
His designs appear on walls, walkways, exercise yards and next to visitor centres. Some examples appear in the photographs which accompany this report. Quite a development for an author who also struggled with mental ill-health as described in his 2022 book for Waterside Press, Mental Me.
Justin’s company is called Mural Maestro. He now employs three assistants to cope with demand and whether prisons opt for his own creations or ‘realism’. There is no truth in the rumour that their work is now styled ‘After Rollins’ by the art world, or that Banksy has surrendered his spray can in admiration following his iconic image on the wall of Oscar Wilde’s (former) Reading Gaol!
Find out more about Justin’s books here: