Home > Food & Culture > Splott Artist is Gaining Fame After Friend’s Viral Tweet

Splott Artist is Gaining Fame After Friend’s Viral Tweet

An artist from Splott is gaining fame after his painting went viral on Twitter and throughout the Cardiff community.

Malcolm Murphy paints in the British impressionist style. His oil on canvas painting, ‘Taking a Break’ is of Penarth Pier.

A Cardiff painter who was a former graffiti artist is being recognized for his fine art after receiving attention online.

Malcolm Murphy has newfound notoriety after his friend, Alan Bretos, posted his painting of Splott Road onto Twitter.

The impressionist painting titled “Splott Road on a moody late afternoon” has received more than 230,000 views and 750 retweets, while generating responses from across the world.

Murphy, who grew up in and still lives in Splott, began his journey into painting with graffiti cans, a passion that he found through breakdancing and American hip-hop.  

“We would save our pocket money, and literally go hungry to buy discontinued aerosol cans,” says Murphy. “That same night, we’d find a derelict wall, and cover the whole thing.”

After being caught by the police, his high school put him in touch with a traditional sign shop, and his career as a commercial artist began.

Malcolm Murphy, 47, who works full-time as a commercial artist, paints fine art from his living room.

The painting took more than 20 hours to complete, but Murphy credits the “personal” aspect of the painting for generating such an emotive response from the community.

“Splott has such character, such grittiness,” says Murphy, 47. “But that beauty was always there.”

Murphy has also painted Bath and Penarth, but says that in Cardiff something worth painting will “show up instantaneously,” at which point he goes straight to work.

“The quicker you move, the more unstatic it is,” says Murphy. “The more you labour over something, the more you miss the immediacy.”

A painting by Malcolm Murphy of St. Anglican’s Church on Splott Road.

His work has received widespread acclaim including an upcoming piece with BBC Wales and prospects in Wales’ premier galleries, due in no small part to the personal mission of his close friend Alan Bretos.

“He deserves more,” says Bretos. “I want him to be up there with the greats.”

The pair have been friends for more than 25 years, and Bretos has been reaching out to galleries and media outlets on behalf of the humble artist.

“I can’t do this kind of thing, I’m not that kind of person,” says Murphy. On returning the favour to his friend, “I think I’m going to invite him over for a Christmas dinner.”

“We haven’t finished yet Mal,” says Bretos. “We’ve got a long way to go with this.”

A full view of Malcolm Murphy’s work is available on his website.