Sheffield artist Oliver’s army of snooker stars on their way

Oliver Byne collects teh autographs of Dennis Taylor and Steve Davies

Oliver Byne collects teh autographs of Dennis Taylor and Steve Davies

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YOUNG Sheffield artist Oliver Byne will be rubbing shoulders with some snooker greats over the next few weeks.

But the 17-year-old will not be overawed as he is getting used to meeting celebrities - many of whom were only too pleased to give him their autographs which inspired him to complete a collection of stunning art pieces.

Dozens of top players are expected to visit an exhibition of Oliver’s work at Bank Street Art, Sheffield city centre, which opens tonight and will run until the end of the Snooker World Championships on Monday, May 7.

Oliver, named Sheffield’s young artist of the year for 2011, will be showing a collection of 40 of his Art-a-graphs.

The works portray Oliver’s hobby of autograph collecting with each signature - many of them penned by snooker players - represented by an abstract art painting.

Three charities - Western Park Hospital, The Paul Hunter Foundation and Bank Street Arts - will benefit from proceeds of the exhibition,

Oliver, who is studying for his A levels at King Ecgbert’s School in Dore, said: “I’ve collected autographs since I was five, meeting some top sports stars, pop stars and actors.

“The hard part for any artist is not conceiving ideas or producing the art, it’s selling of work or getting others to buy into the concepts and supporting you.

“You need luck and help with getting your art out into the market. Not everyone catches on to the concept of some art, but I’ve been encouraged by the positive responses I’ve received on my Art-a-graphs from inspirational artists in their own right as well as the general public.”