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More than Just the One Brush with Fame: Celebs Who You Didn’t Realise Were a Dab Hand at Contemporary Art too

Don’t you just hate them, eh? Multi-talented people who don’t simply enjoy the successes of one career, but have two or three. That’s the thing with creative types though, as they may well plough a vocational furrow in one particular discipline, yet always hanker after another. Or perhaps started out chasing a singular creative dream, yet ultimately gravitated towards another somewhere down the line. Like actor, Johnny Depp for example; who followed his ambition of being a rock star all the way to LA, but wound up being a Hollywood heart-throb almost by accident. That said, he’s one of those annoying folk who combines the thespian way of life with the more rock n roll accomplishments these days. Depp also paints, just for the record.

So, anyway, this led us to thinking just who else combines a couple of seemingly natural talents; more especially celebrities who paint, given the premise of this blog. And where better to start in light of the above then, well, Edward Scissorhands himself.  Yes, not only is Johnny Depp a talented actor and musician, he is a gifted painter as well. Yeah, it’s a good job he’s not cool and handsome as well, isn’t it. With regards to his style, the Pirates of the Caribbean star seems to relish painting unique, and yet strangely moving portraits of the famous, including amongst others Jack Kerouac and Marlon Brando. In terms of fellow actors who have been known to have stopped – or at least, put on hold – the reading of scripts and being screen tested (and alternatively pursued their more artistic interests via a canvas), and the following names habitually crop up.

Dennis Hopper (the Easy Rider himself spent time in the company of Warhol during the 1960s and is regarded as a ‘gifted painter with a unique vision’), Jim Carrey (staged his own solo exhibition in Palm Springs), Anthony Hopkins (having portrayed both Hannibal Lecter and Pablo Picasso on the big screen, perhaps little wonder that his visual pieces are seemingly influenced by the famous artist, in terms of their graphic darkness and slightly disturbing feel), Rosie O’Donnell (exponent of colourful mixed media paintings), Lucy Liu (very talented abstract artist) and Sylvester Stallone (whose brand of contemporary fine art is described as being colourful and abstract, yet conversely projecting both a whimsical and imposing feel); a pretty eclectic bunch, when all’s said and done.

More than Just the One Creative Point to Prove

Elsewhere there’s any amount of musical luminaries who have exchanges microphones for paintbrushes at various junctures in their lives and times, many of whom you may well have already heard about. These include the revered likes of Frank Sinatra, David Bowie (noted for the depth and surrealism characterised in his paintings), Joni Mitchell (always considered herself a painter first and a musician second, and used many of her illustrative compositions on her own album covers), Janis Joplin, Stevie Nicks (who was inspired to take up art by a close friend suffering from leukaemia, who the Fleetwood Mac vocalist subsequently dedicated her vibrant, ethereal paintings and drawings to the memory of), Johnny Cash (who sketched and painted for years while on the road), Michael Jackson (who showed a prodigious pictorial talent aged just 9-years, when the ‘Thriller’ mastermind created a stunning likeness of one of his heroes, Charlie Chaplin) and, erm, Yoko Ono?? But then there are two huge names from the rock n roll halls of fame who you will instantly recognise as much for their contemporary art prowess as much as their ability to strum a guitar and belt out a tune with the Rolling Stones (think Ronnie Wood) or (in the case of singer/songwriter, Bob Dylan) on their own, solo merits.

With specific regards to the last two, both Ronnie Wood and Bob Dylan have brand new contemporary fine art collections released this early part of 2018, with the former’s latest portfolio taking a closer, illustrative, behind-the-scenes look at the brilliant (yet bruised) world of rock n roll, whilst the latter has chosen to share his graphic insights of places travelled to and through during his various times on the road. So there you have it. Not only do increasing numbers of celebrities choose to collect contemporary art (rather than wine, supercars, former Miss World winners, etc), but nowadays you’re as likely to find them turning their own hands to oils, acrylics, mixed media, photography, sculpture and/or watercolours. And trust us when we say most do more than just dabble, with many becoming accomplished practitioners in their own right.

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