Meet the Barnham train station assistant who moonlights as a graffiti artist – but not as you’d expect.
Southern’s Edward Acton, 37, is fast growing a reputation for his quirky and colourful graffiti-style work with trainers, high heels and clothing as his canvas. He only began customising footwear and clothing a couple of years ago after being inspired by a YouTube video.
Boston Celtics fan Edward, who helps run the Chichester Knights basketball club, was looking for reviews of basketball shoes online when the related video popped up showing the shoe transformation. Since then, he has invested in paints and brushes and has customised as many as 50 pairs of shoes.
His weird and wonderful work incorporates a wide range of themes from the Joker, Peter Pan, flowers, Nightmare Before Christmas, Harry Potter and Minions. And he is currently in the process of customising a black jacket for a bride to wear on her wedding day.
Pictures of his creations are even brightening up stations on the Southern network, and can be seen at Littlehampton, Chichester, East Croydon and Barnham.
Married father-of-two Edward enjoyed art at school, gaining a GCSE in the subject, but he hadn’t done anything arty since then. Edward, who lives in Tangmere, said: “I never really thought I was any good at it and I gave it up. It was only a couple of years ago I decided I would start drawing and painting and it’s just gone from there.”
It is particularly rewarding when he sees the faces of the recipients of his work. Colleagues have filmed their daughters unwrap birthday and Christmas presents customised by Edward, who said: “It’s nice to see the look on their faces.”
He added: “I only charge enough to be able to replenish my paints and buy brushes, I don’t do it to make a profit because I enjoy doing it. I do it in my down time as a hobby. It’s a nice way to unwind while listening to music. If something looks fun and exciting to paint, I’m down for painting it.”
Barnham Station Manager Tessa Moss said: “I like Ed’s work as it’s different and it catches your eye, so you have to take a better look at it. The youth that travel through our stations also relate to it and I like the way they comment on the footwear.”
To see more of Edward’s work, visit ej_customz on Instagram and EJ Custom Art on Facebook.
Govia Thameslink Railway
Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) operates Thameslink, Great Northern, Southern and Gatwick Express services as follows:
- Thameslink – cross-London services between Bedford/Peterborough/Cambridge and Brighton/Horsham/Littlehampton/East Grinstead, and between Luton/St Albans and Sutton/Wimbledon/Rainham; plus services between London and Sevenoaks
- Great Northern – services between London and Welwyn, Hertford, Peterborough, Cambridge and King’s Lynn
- Southern – services between London and the Sussex coast (Brighton, Worthing, Eastbourne, Bognor Regis, Hastings) and parts of Surrey, Kent and Hampshire (Ashford International, Southampton, Portsmouth)
- Gatwick Express – fast, non-stop direct services between Gatwick Airport and London Victoria