Milton Keynes artist and former Woodhill prisoner collaborate to help charity

Ready to make a splash: JJ with the collaborative art pieces
Ready to make a splash: JJ with the collaborative art pieces

A Milton Keynes-based artist and Britain’s most notorious prisoner have pooled their creative talents to help charitable causes in the new city.

JJ Stellitano, from North Crawley, began writing to Charles Salvador, previously known as Charles Bronson, and a former inmate at Woodhill Prison in MK, regularly last year.

“I wrote to him explaining how much I admire him artistically.

“I love how his work is very different from everyone else’s,” JJ said.

“For me, Charlie’s art is the work of a genius. He has sent me many pieces as gifts that I treasure, and given me advice along the way.”

The pen friends have never met, but have built up a firm friendship through their letter exchanges.

They struck upon the idea of collaborating on two pieces of art to help raise money for charities, including the Breast Care Unit at Milton Keynes Hospital: “They cared for my mum when she had breast cancer and she always speaks highly of them,” JJ said.

Charles, whose story was loosely covered in the film Bronson, starring Tom Hardy, changed his name to honour one of his favourite artists, Salvador Dali. His work is highly collectable and JJ has high hopes that worthy causes will benefit from the limited edition prints.

Some will be sold directly, while others are being donated to MK causes including The Bus Shelter MK and the YMCA to be auctioned off.

“Charlie has been a supportive friend and helped me a lot with my charity work and my art. I know him to be a lovely man with a heart of gold,” JJ added.

> Charles Bronson was sentenced to seven years’ imprisonment for armed robbery in 1974. Upon his release, he began a bare-knuckle boxing career in the East End of London. His promoter thought he needed a more suitable name and suggested he change it to Charles Bronson, after the American actor. He was returned to prison for planning another robbery and continued to be a violent inmate, taking numerous hostages, resulting in him being sentenced to life imprisonment.