Butcher features in high street pop art project

Pop art legend Sir Peter Blake has been commissioned by American Express to produce a piece celebrating high street heroes, which will feature one Q Guild butcher.

George Payne of George Payne Butcher’s in Newcastle was chosen as one of the 40 shopkeepers to feature in the art piece. Payne said it was an honour to be chosen and “fabulous” publicity: “Being a long-established family butcher means I have got to know the locals really well and have an excellent rapport with them. They trust me to provide local quality meat and offer cooking advice.”

This was the basis of the project, which Sir Peter, who worked as a butcher in his youth, explained: “Small shops and the Great British Shopkeeper have been at the forefront of British culture for hundreds of years now.

“The notion of a ‘Nation of Shopkeepers’ is embedded in our folklore and the wonderful variety of today’s independent shops, as well as the character that small businesses bring to a local area make them an ideal subject matter for modern pop art.

“Having worked at a local butcher at the age of 13, I have also experienced the dedication and hard work that goes into running a small shop. It is for all these reasons that I am thrilled to be lending my support to a campaign that champions small businesses.”

The shopkeepers featured in the artwork were selected from thousands of small businesses taking part in Small Business Saturday. Sir Peter Blake’s High Street Heroes can be downloaded for free from amexshopsmall.co.uk until 6 December 2014.

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