They’re all accomplished painters!
As the boundaries between ‘high’ art and entertainment blur, it follows that entertainers are crossing over into the art world. And why not? Why should creative energies be confined to just one medium?
Here’s a handful of celebrities who know how to wield a paintbrush or camera. Collector-wise, their works are much sought after as they are both authentic pieces of memorabilia and independent works of art. Keep an eye out for them.
The menacing star of Pulp Fiction and Easy Rider has been showing his photography and assemblages since the 60s when he was a friend of Andy Warhol and hung out with Duchamp and David Hockney. His photography is shot with a cinematographer’s eye for composition, character and story—full of drama and sensitivity for the human moment. He’s got a great eye for the Hell’s Angels, highways and hippies of the USA.
The Rolling Stones’ guitarist trained at art school (along with Freddie Mercury and Pete Townsend)—and has been painting for most of his career. His style is figurative, extravagant, colourful and full of unpredictable energy. His favourite subject matter is – understandably – the rock gods and celebrities of our time, especially the Rolling Stones. As an accomplished musician, he surely knows a thing or too about chromatic harmony and discord.
The legendary singer and songwriter is surprisingly delicate with brush and paint. He depicts slightly whimsical scenes of everyday life in vivid colour, like Sunday Afternoon, pictured top left. A railroad track in crimson red, sunflowers in a city garden. These lively scenes often have a giddy raking perspective and strong black outlines – reminiscent of Chagall or Dufy. Just like the great man himself, they’re hard to pin down as the product of any one specific movement.
He may have been the subject of a hugely successful international exhibition about his life last year, but Bowie is also a printmaker, painter and sculptor. His works range from self-portaits to depictions of his entourage and family, to abstract geometric works. On his website Bowie cites Damien Hirst as a strong influence and the two have collaborated. If you like Bowie’s music, you’ll find a kindred spirit in his sense of colour and imagery. It’s as eclectic as you’d expect from the originator of the Thin White Duke and Ziggy Stardust.
And also: Nearly all the Beatles make/made art: Ringo Starr, John Lennon & Paul McCartney.
As well as many other musicians: Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Tony Bennett, Beyoncé. And many famous actors show their paintings in galleries: Sylvester Stallone, Antony Hopkins, Johnny Depp, Pierce Brosnan, Michelle Pfeiffer.
And not to forget royalty: Prince Charles is rather noted for his watercolours of village life.