Arsenal-loving artist wins Premier League custom from Gabriel Martinelli and Emi Martinez

When Archie Wallis pulled up outside the luxurious home of Brazilian striker Gabriel Martinelli, the lifelong Arsenal fan had to pinch himself.

He had driven from Suffolk to London, in his tired old Renault Clio, to deliver an original portrait lovingly crafted in a spare room at his girlfriend's house.

It was perhaps an unlikely commission. The millionaire footballer enlisting the artistic services of the 22-year-old former waiter from Beccles but, as commentators love to remind us, the footballing world loves an underdog.

Archie had posted his painting of Martinelli on his Instagram page "Wallis on the Wall", but among the normal barrel-load of "likes" one stood out.

The Arsenal star himself was a fan. So much so, he sent a message asking for more.

Archie Wallis delivers his portrait to Arsenal star Gabriel Martinelli Credit: Archie Wallis

"It was a bit of a surreal experience," said Archie. "I remember clicking on the message and thinking; surely not.

"I clicked on his page and refreshed it a couple of times just to verify it was definitely him.

"I cracked on as soon as possible and I was lucky enough to take the work up to him."

In Premier League circles, word had got out about the Suffolk artist with a vibrant style and a talent for capturing footballers on canvas. It wasn't long before a second superstar customer surfaced.

Aston Villa's Argentinian goalkeeper Emi Martinez was to be his next muse. He was swiftly presented with portraits to commemorate his country's victory in the Copa America.

Archie Wallis with Aston Villa goalkeeper Emi Martinez. Credit: Archie Wallis

Once again they were personally delivered, by a slightly star-struck Archie.

"It was normal for him - but not so much for me - when he said I'm going to show this to (Lionel) Messi," said Archie.

"After hearing those sort of names you sort of switch back into reality and realise the sort of people you're working for.

"It feels amazing. It's really nice to know my work is being so well received.

"To have these people who are so successful in their field reach out to me to capture lifelong memories for them is an incredible feeling."

Archie, who is originally from Castle Hedingham in Essex, started out by painting pets and doing small commissions for his friends but his work has evolved.

Archie Wallis' painting of Martin Luther King. Credit: ITV News Anglia

Much of it requires painstaking precision, working with enamel paint and even broken glass.

He is currently putting the finishing touches on a portrait of a man who is used to applying them, Barcelona striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

Archie Wallis putting the final touches on his portrait of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. Credit: ITV News Anglia

This piece wasn't a commission and doesn't yet have a buyer. But if you're interested, Pierre-Emerick, then Archie is happy to talk.