AN artist has been discovered after painting an iconic Hollywood building.

The retired criminology Professor John Tierney, from Accrington, was visiting his son in the USA, when he decided to indulge in his hobby of painting when in the famous shopping distict of Melrose Avenue.

The hot pink designer store on Melrose, where British designer Paul Smith is based in LA, immediately caught his eye.

Within months the painting was a hit, and the design had been copied onto silk Paul Smith scarves, which sold out instantly.

And following an exhibition of John’s work at the LA Paul Smith store, there are now talks of exhibitions in Tokyo and London.

John is also in talks with Paul Smith to discuss a contract about using his images on other items of clothing in the future.

The 67-year-old has no formal art training and is entirely self taught.

A former Holy Family Secondary Modern pupil in Fern Gore, he said he loved art at school.

After school he began an engineering apprentice-hip in Burnley as a draughtsman preparing technical drawings. In his early 20s he chose a different path and began university.

Ultimately he became a criminology professor, retiring from Durham University in 2010, when his art hobby began to really flourish.

He said: “I just really enjoyed painting in LA. The light is amazing and the colours are strong and sharp against a blue sky. I just love it. I didn’t expect Paul Smith to see the paintings but my son, who lives in LA, was an acquaintance of his and he got to see them.

“The next thing I knew they had been turned into silk scarves. That was a very fun process and they did an amazing job reproducing my painting.”

Two hundred people attended the Hollywood oil painting exhibition, of American urban and desert scenes, including actors Josh Duhamel and Mira Sorvino.

The success of the exhibit has been featured in American art publications in which John has been likened to David Hockney and Edward Hopper.

John added: “It’s really exciting and a complete surprise. I never expected my hobby to one day be more successful than my main career.”