Stuart De Voil was brought up in the Seventies, on a council estate in Milton Keynes, and it’s this, he reckons, which has given him a real passion for brutalist structures, big square concrete buildings, the kind some might say were ugly.

“You know places like the Barbican Centre? I like those structures, I think they look cool,” he said. “I do think it is down to growing up in a council house, being surrounded by concrete buildings. I loved them and have a lot of fond memories of living within that environment.

“When I moved on, lived around London and I suppose you could say moved up the social scale, I’d listen to people who were living in four bedroom detached houses who’d talk about ‘those monstrosities’, meaning those brutalist structures, and I would say how I had a love for them.

“I met my wife Kirsty, who was also brought up on a council estate, and she would write poetry about it. We worked together – my visuals, her poetry.

“When we moved to Essex, we saw how there were plenty of these concrete blocks we love.”

The latest manifestation for this love, has come about in the form of creating massive panels which at first glance, you’d absolutely think were made out of concrete. Not so. It’s actually a mixture of acrylic paint, plaster dust and whatever other ingredient the artist has found to get the make believe look.

“I just go at it with inks, whatever, to achieve the finished product,” he said.

It was initially a kind of personal home decor project, after Stuart and Kirsty moved into a penthouse in Prittlewell, which had two glass walls and two white plaster bare walls. He wanted to embrace the vibe of the converted warehouse space.

“But people started saying how much they liked them and I ended up selling four, three to friends and another to a restaurant in London,”

Stuart explained. “I also created some four or five foot panels for the Leigh Art Trail, and both of those sold.

“At that point I was employed in a good job in marketing, but I decided to go freelance so I would have the time to concentrate on my art.”

It seems to have been a great decision. Fast forward, and the project has developed even further, with the artist getting ready to exhibit the pieces in an art show held next month.

He’s attracting the interest of the movers and shakers of the interior design world too.

“I’m interested in blurring the lines between artwork and interior design,” he said. “They are pieces of art, but do look like large decorative panels”.

He will holding the exhibition at Studio 19, alongside Alex McHattie – who happens to be his brother-in-law. Alex, who has a fascination with all things Scandinavian, has created abstract pieces that look like mythological maps, although they aren’t.

“The first time I saw Alex’s work, he had framed a piece and given it to his mum as a gift.

When she unwrapped it, I said ‘wow!’ That is amazing!’ “We decided to do the show together. In both cases, what we have created appears to be something it isn’t, so we felt our projects would work well laid out alongside each other,” said Stuart. “The way it looks, nothing is real yet everything is familiar.”

This explains the name of the show – (Absence of) Remarkable Geography – which will run at the Studio 19 base in Leigh, from November 14 until November 21.

Stuart seems to be on a roll, which is especially inspiring when you discover he only started painting a few years ago.

“My background was always in photography,”

he said. “Then one day I was having a pint with two friends – one is Simon Feather, a painter, and the other is Lester Mills, a sculptor – and someone suggested we should all have a go at each other’s stuff.

“I picked up a brush and started and just kept going. That was three years ago. Lucky for me, I’ve had some success and people seem to have been interested in what I’ve produced.”