A BRICKLAYER from Llanidloes will appear on a BBC show searching for the best amateur artist in Britain.

Callum Stephen, 23, is one of the final 10 contestants on The Big Painting Challenge programme on BBC One this Sunday.

He is a self-taught photorealism artist from the market town and now lives in the South of France. Callum is a bricklayer by trade and wakes up at 4am to practice his painting skills before going to work on the building site.

Late last year he spent a few weeks filming all over the UK for the programme.

Callum said: “The show was a great experience and I loved every second. I learnt so many different techniques and met great people.”

His big break came after his work was turned down by a local gallery.

“The BBC rang me immediately after I left the gallery. They said that they had seen my work on Instagram and asked if I could come down to Cardiff for an audition.

“A day after the audition, I had a phone call saying I made it through to the last 10 from thousands of people who auditioned.

“I felt hugely shocked as I’m just a bricklayer but with huge ambitions and dreams to show the world my art.”

Callum’s love of photorealism painting started after travelling around the world three years ago. Through “a lot of dedication, motivation and commitment” Callum would, on average, spend five to six months completing a photorealism oil painting. His most recent painting of an M&Ms and Battenburg cake took an incredible 562 hours, or 23 days, to complete.

“My dream is to have my work recognised on a major level and exhibit all over the world. I feel like I’m wasting quality time on building sites instead of creating giant photorealistic painting of anything that captivates me.

“I’m determined to be up there with the best photorealism painters this planet has to offer and I won’t stop until I get there.

“Big thanks go to my family and friends. It’s had its stresses and they know how I am a perfectionist.

“It was amazing to have been working alongside Richard Coles and Mariella Frostrup.”

The Big Painting Challenge returns on Sunday, April 1, at 6pm when 10 enthusiastic amateur painters undertake an intensive, six-week, artistic boot camp in a bid to perfect their skills and be crowned the overall champion.