Published: 17:02, 25 June 2020
| Updated: 13:17, 26 June 2020
An art studio which featured a "decapitated" Donald Trump in its front window has closed.
The Flying Pig in Whitstable has been attracting the attention of passers-by with its wild window displays for eight years.
Former BBC war reporter Triona Holden launched the studio in Canterbury Road eight years ago.
"I don’t see myself as a political artist but I do like having my say on events if I am moved by them," the Tankerton resident said.
"One of these pieces was put up during the Trump / Clinton fight for election in 2016. He revolted me so I wanted to kick back.
"The artwork showed him creeping up behind Hillary Clinton and grabbing her.
"Bit rude perhaps - but people would beep their horns and take photos. I was pleased about that as it meant he became the object of ridicule that he deserved to be."
Another of Triona's favourite pieces was a "decapitated" Trump in the window with "send him back" displayed above, which she put up in July last year.
It was a reference to his dealings with four US Democratic congresswomen after he suggested one of them, a refugee, should go home.
Triona retired from the BBC on medical grounds aged 39 after she was diagnosed with systemic lupus erythematosis, known as lupus, where the body’s immune system attacks your own tissues and organs.
But this sparked a moment of change for her and she began to reinvent herself.
Although having never painted before, nurses told her she had a real talent when she picked up a brush with her daughters when they visited her in hospital.
Triona obtained a degree in 2010 at the Chelsea College of Fine Art and Design and opened her own art gallery - The Flying Pig Studio - at 21 Canterbury Road in Whitstable eight years ago.
She told how one of her delights has been "completely bamboozling" passers-by with artworks in the window, and on a daily basis would have people asking what she was up to.
"I had got to the stage in my career as a professional artist where I wanted to get my work out there, before the public as much as possible," she said.
"For me the viewer is the oxygen that I need to make my pieces breathe.
"How better to do that than take over a shop in a high-profile location in a buzzing town like Whitstable. I got lucky and found one not far from my home. It used to be a butchers’ shop and still had marble slabs and meat hooks in it."
Triona said how The Flying Pig's windows have often been designed to communicate joy.
"I loved being in the studio witnessing children point and laugh when they walked by," she added.
"A popular set of figures were the Winnie the Pooh and Piglet, who were originally from a local cinema.
"I donated them to Strode Park, who felt they would be a cheery addition to their premises."
Many have expressed their sadness at the studio closing on social media.
Ex-reporter Triona says it was a tough decision to close the studio, but she is now embarking on an "exciting new project" writing her fourth book.
Bruce Williams, who owns Keam's Yard studio on the seafront, will be moving into the site in September.
More by this authorBrad Harper
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