Banksy Saves Struggling Artist from Drug Addiction

A former drug addict inspired to get clean by a Banksy exhibition has shared his inspirational story with the Huffington Post.

Jamie Scanlon, based in Weston-super-Mare, England, was a keen artist in his youth. But a series of tragic events led him to seek relief in drugs soon after starting college.

“I started dabbling in drugs and knocking around with the wrong people and when I was 19,” he said, “two of my closest friends were murdered six months apart.”

After the murders, he got caught in a downward spiral and lost sight of his dreams of making it as an artist. However in 2009, after visiting a street art exhibition featuring works by Banksy, Scanlon had an epiphany and resolved to kick his drug habit and refocus on his artistic ambitions.

“It made me realize that maybe I could make it as an artist,” he said. “It planted the seed to start fighting my addiction and I replaced that buzz with one far superior.”

Now mainly known by his street alias ‘JPS,’ Scanlon took up street art. His works are heavily stencil-based and although Banksy’s influence is an unmistakable, he has developed his own unique style and message.

JPS has reached a significant level of recognition, including a recent collaboration with Hyundai. “I’m feeling proud of how far I’ve [come] but hope to remain grounded and not forget where I’m from,” he said.

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