An award-winning artist is selling his work for charity after being diagnosed with brain cancer and given only months to live.

Antonio Russo from Bovingdon, AKA Stony, who went from being a street graffiti artist to winning global art prizes, is raising money for The Brain Tumour Charity.

The father-of-two, who was diagnosed in 2019, has been producing work with inspirational messages throughout his career and they have been bringing hope to people with cancer.

Snooker star and art lover Ronnie O’Sullivan has become a close friend after buying one of his canvasses.

Watford Observer: Ronnie O'Sullivan and Antonio RussoRonnie O'Sullivan and Antonio Russo

Mr O'Sullivan said: "He is a great friend to me. When I met him I thought 'I really like this guy' - he has a lovely way about him.

"We stayed in, starting talking, eating and watching Formula 1.

"Now I know his family - his daughter and son. We also come from neighbouring villages in Italy so we share that culture, so there was an Italian connection too.

"I love his art. Antonio has his own unique way as an artist and I think it is fantastic."


Watford Observer: Ronnie O'Sullivan with Stony's canvassRonnie O'Sullivan with Stony's canvass

Mr Russo, 56, said: “I’ve been involved in art and music all my life and have been fortunate to travel the world and work with some amazing people.

“I stay positive despite my diagnosis and it is fantastic that my work inspires people and helps them through tough times."

In January he was given six to nine months to live but has been on a clinical trial drug which he says he draws great strength from.

“My cancer is terminal but I’m the biggest survivor in the world,” he added.

Watford Observer: Artist Antonio RussoArtist Antonio Russo

Mr Russo continued: “Ronnie is a fantastic guy and a good buddy, and he’s also really knowledgeable about art.

“I’ve got work in big galleries and have lots of high-profile clients but the most important thing for me is that my work touches people and helps them."

Mr Russo was born in Luton but moved to Sicily as a baby before returning with his family to the UK when he was 12.

He had been drawing and painting since he was three years old and was drawn to street art as a teenager.

Watford Observer: Artwork by StonyArtwork by Stony

He added: “Graffiti was a way of expressing myself and I joined a community of street artists who were just dedicated to their art.

“They were artists, not taggers who just went around painting their names or one design - I was always creative and colourful and it was about expressing myself through art."

Mr O'Sullivan said: "The illness is so bloody sad but he is so positive - he has a great spirit about him.

"He never gives in - he always believes there is something better around the corner."