It does kill me physically”, laughs Rochford based artist Dan Kitchener, aka Dank, when talking about the enormous piece of street art he just finished last weekend in Brick Lane, in east London, just one of many pieces he creates all over the world.

And you can imagine why.

When I write the word “enormous”, that’s what they are. The Brick Lane one, for example, called The Queen of Neon, is 30 feet by 20 feet. He once did one on the Custard Factory building, in Birmingham, which was eight storeys high. This year in Bristol he painted a huge Spirit of Tokyo wall, which was 65ft by 80 ft.

His subjects tend to be a mixture of life painting, partly based on photos he takes, mixed with illustrations and ideas from his imagination.

“I always carry around my little sketch pad because I always come up with ideas”

he said, “even if I am at the pub” (not that Dan drinks these days, being a keen marathon runner – he has done 11 this year – when he isn’t creating art). “I also like the idea of cross-pollination, so I have painted scenes in London or Stockholm that I’ve come up with from being in Tokyo, and vice versa.”

Many of Dan’s UK street scenes may evoke familiar feelings for commuters who have torn home towards the station in rush hour traffic – his images presenting a combination of neon and night sky, often with prominent evidence of weather conditions such as rain, or after the rain, the wet shiny pavements gleaming in the electric light.

“I suppose I like to see the beauty in a mundane view”

he said. “Because I have done that commute for years” (Dan here is mainly referring to his paintings of the streets of London). “I know that environment. I’ve been in those people’s shoes, and I like the idea of people taking stock of their surroundings, of seeing the colour and energy around them, the nice scenes.”

Dan thanks his mum and dad for inspiring him, in very different ways, when he was growing up in Wickford to become the full time, professional artist he is today.

He said: “My mum was always artistic so even when I was a baby, for instance if she took me to the woods, she would encourage me to draw what I saw, you know, leaves and trees, or we would collect things to take home and make things out of.

“My dad was a good car salesman, and always instilled in me the importance of selling, in a business way.

“I consider myself lucky to have picked up both traits for both parents, so the whole business side of my art, the invoicing and the promotion and organising the shows, I quite enjoy, although I must confess I wish someone sometimes would do that side for me, because it can be very time consuming and on top of doing all that, I have to create the product.

“I’m up at 4am every day and I work seven days a week...but I do like it. I do like having control over all my output. I don’t put a spin on anything, I don’t embellish anything, I’m just being me so I suppose that is what I like about doing it myself.”

Dan first decided to go freelance after working in different artistic areas for many years, in web design, animation, on graphic design on music videos and then as a senior designer for a post production TV company.

He said: “It was really good, really cool.

“We’d meet all sorts of very interesting and cool people, but it was hard work. Six days a week working late nights, with high pressure deadlines, you know, a lot of money was being spent on these music videos and you had to deliver top quality.

“I really loved it, but I always knew it wasn’t something I could do forever. I did it for nine years.”

Despite the ferocity of the job, Dan still managed to do his own art on the side.

“It was just my passion, and I suppose I saw myself as an artist as a whole rather than just an animator, so I took the decision to go freelance, working 50-50 for TV and myself.

“I was a good time – in that time I did one of the animations which was used behind Paul McCartney on tour, but gradually I pushed my own side more so I could become a full-time artist.”

One of the first commissions Dan was asked to do, was a 15ft street mural for Cargo nightclub in London.

He said: “I was always interested in street art and graffiti, but it was the first time I did something like that.

“I thought it was huge back then, but it wasn’t compared to what I do now. It was only about 15 feet by seven.

“But the mural was next to a Banksy piece, and the club was a big name, so it was quite a big deal at the time – the Echo covered it – and a lot of doors opened.

“People started asking if I could put it on canvas for them. And it was an exciting time where street art was concerned, because it was just at the time of the explosion of Banksy.

“I started to meet a lot of street artists and we’d all hang around together at Benny’s Bar, in Brick Lane. I don’t want to say we started the scene, but we were there at the time of it when people were getting excited about it and it was still considered cutting edge, whereas now I look at it as quite mainstream.”

Since then Dan’s work has exploded and taken him all around the world, painting commissions.

“That’s probably the best thing about it, the travelling” he said, filling me in with several potential bookings already pencilled in the diary for next year, which include a trip to the States, Cyprus and Vietnam.

After being asked when he might next do a local show, he promised: “I will be doing a solo London show early next year.”

* Follow Dan Kitchener (Dank) on Facebook to get updates.