ONE of Merseyside’s most popular artists has taken over the main gallery at World of Glass to showcase his vibrant and colourful paintings.

It could have all worked out very differently for 38-year-old John Charles after he found himself consumed by drinking and drug abuse.

By the age of 27, he was at rock bottom. Using cocaine daily and hiding it from his family, his debts were out of control, he had missed his mortgage payments, his car was taken by a finance company and his relationship was in ruins.

“I don’t want it to be a sob story but I think it’s important to talk about it,” said John, who is originally from Kirkby and now lives in Huyton. “There are half a million people in this country who are alcohol dependant so if I can reach one person who thinks ‘if he stopped maybe I can’, I will.”

The dad-of-one found art a huge help as he began his recovery with the rediscovery of his childhood talent giving him something to focus on. He has even raised awareness through his art – visiting schools, engaging with youngsters to help them understand that drug use can quickly turn into drug abuse.

“When it came to drugs I wanted to be hyper and pumped up so I became a cocaine user,” he said. “Smoking weed wasn’t for me – I needed to be bouncing off the walls so I had to put all my energy into something and that was art.

“If you look at my art it’s full of energy – these aren’t portraits where someone has sat for hours and hours and it looks like a photograph.

“I need to paint fast and it’s been a massive part of my recovery.”

Many of John’s paintings capture celebrities and icons he can relate to as well as landmarks from around Merseyside.

“My picture of Johnny Cash has gone down a storm,” he said. “He is someone I can really connect to – I even have tattoos of him.”

John is still clean and sober and is now making a career out of selling his artwork.

“In 2019, I handed my notice in as a civil servant,” he added. “I couldn’t have dreamed it could have gone so well and I’ve never looked back.”

Evolution by John Charles is at World of Glass, open Monday to Saturday, 10am to 5pm.