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Page last updated at 14:22 GMT, Tuesday, 27 July 2010 15:22 UK
Argyle Man painting kicks Reynolds off Big Screen
By Jemima Laing
BBC Devon

Argyle Man by Steve Clement-Large
The original painting only measures 40cm x 30cm

Not many people can say they have followed in the footsteps of Sir Joshua Reynolds and Beryl Cook.

But Plymouth artist Steve Clement-Large is quite entitled to make that claim.

His painting Argyle Man is going on show on the back of Plymouth's Big Screen - where Cook and Reynolds' work has also been displayed.

And it will be the first time the Plymouth artist will have seen his 40cm x 30cm painting blown up to an impressive 8.2m x 4.3m.

"I'm chuffed to bits - I just hope it makes people smile," said Steve.

"I cannot wait to see this looming over the crowds on Royal Parade."

He submitted the painting of the Plymouth Argyle fan as part of the Big Blueprint Project - designed to put art in the heart of the city centre by showcasing works from local collections as well as contemporary pieces.

Retailers chose the painting from four pieces of art shortlisted by judges from Plymouth City Council's Arts Unit, the City Museum and Art Gallery, City Centre Company and the BBC.

Argyle Man is one of a series of five pieces he painted combining tribal masks with contemporary clothing from his garage in Woolwell.

Argyle Man by Steve Clement-Large
The original sketch for Argyle Man by Steve Clement-Large

He "rediscovered" painting two years ago after spending many years in an office environment in a variety of jobs including working as a civil servant.

"I really hope that I can turn this into a major turning-point in my very new career path.

"Not many artists get an opportunity like this.

"I took tribal masks as a starting point and the football shirt idea just came to me - they are the acceptable face of tribalism in the city.

"I hope people will identify with it."

In his submission he said: "Argyle, with its chequered recent history on and off the pitch, can be seen as a metaphor for the city. Major developments are mixed with setbacks - but support for Argyle continues regardless of their fortunes."

The worst thing would be if it no-one wanted to talk about it
Steve Clement-Large

But he knows support will not be universal for his painting - originally acrylic on canvas - which will adorn the south-facing side of the screen for the next few months.

"I think it's quite an accessible piece and the worst thing would be if it no-one wanted to talk about it.

"There is a Facebook page dedicated to it and I want people to post their reactions, their photographs - I really want people to engage with it."

The Plymouth Big Screen is the only one of the country's 18 screens to use the reverse in this innovative way and Steve is looking forward to spending a few hours around the screen when his work goes up on Thursday 29 July 2010, to gauge people's reactions.

"It will be interesting just to sit and watch for a while - to see what people think."

So is he himself an Argyle man?

"No, I have been to see them play at Home Park but, coming originally from south east London, I'm a lifelong Chelsea fan I'm afraid!"

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