A Leytonstone artist says he is “completely surprised” after being awarded an OBE in the New Year Honours.

Patrick Brill, known by the pseudonym Bob and Roberta Smith, has been honoured by Her Majesty the Queen for his services to art.

He is known for his distinctive slogan art, comprising of brightly coloured messages painted onto banners or discarded pieces of wood.

Speaking to the Waltham Forest Guardian, Mr Brill said: “It was an award that came out of the blue really, I was completely surprised.

“I do not really know what to make of it yet, but it is great on some level and it is good that artists get some kind of recognition.

“I think there is obviously someone in the establishment who believes art is worth defending, I have been outspoken about cuts to art in schools.

“As much as I have been honoured for my own art, I think it is also partly for standing up for art education and teachers as well.”

Born in Reading, Mr Brill graduated from the University of Reading before he then obtained his Master of Arts at Goldsmiths College.

His work is described by critics as offering a humorous take on topics such as art, politics, popular culture, Britain and the wider world.

In 2005, Mr Brill was commissioned to curate a series of art projects in “neglected” parts of south east Essex, including Canvey Island, Rochford and Purfleet.

The campaign, which became known as “Art U Need: An Outdoor Revolution”, saw him work with local artists to produce sculptures, public art installations and community art programmes.

Mr Brill has also been an outspoken advocate of art education in schools for more than a decade and has delivered speeches on the topic across the world.

In 2013, he launched Art Party, a project to make contemporary art more accessible, including a conference attended by more than 2,000 people discussing art education in schools.