Sometimes there’s no end to people’s talents. That’s certainly true of many celebrities. When they’re not starring in blockbuster movies, releasing hit records, crooning for the masses, or, in one case, living a life of tax-payer funded luxury, they’re hitting the canvas and oils to create their own artistic masterpieces.
Oh yes, the artistic impulse is something that can’t be quashed, and many famous faces prefer to relax and unwind by, not spending their outrageous fortunes on super yachts and million pound mansions (though I’m sure they do that, too), but on whipping out the water colours.
We’ve all familiar with the artistic genius of Picasso and Dali, but I bet you didn’t know a member of the Rebel Alliance was a dab hand with acrylics as well.
Luc Liu is something of a scary lady. Her roles in films such a Charlies Angels and Kill Bill have cemented her reputation as a no-nonsense bad-ass, and her most recent role as Watson in the updated Sherlock Holmes series Elementary further ratifies her kick ass first, ask questions later image.
In reality, she has a softer, more expressive side, indulging her passion for art by enrolling at the New York Studio school to expand her artistic knowledge and hone her creative skills. She’s even created piece made up from found objects from rubbish bins in her native Queens. Artistic inspiration, you see, can be found anywhere.
George W. Bush
Who’d have thought it? The 43rd president of the United States, purveyor of some of the most cringe-worthy gaffes in history (“They misunderestimated me”), and the most embarrassing example of any political leader in the history of the known Universe, good ol’ George Dubya actually has a penchant for painting pooches. Lots of them, apparently.
And while past presidents have indulged in their own post-premiership activities (Pierce hit the bottle, Coolidge wrote newspaper columns, Johnson became a chain-smoking depressive), Georgie became something of a recluse to paint his favourite four-legged friends. Inspired by Churchill’s predilection for painting, he’s confessed picking up a paintbrush changed his life. Also on the plus side, his finger’s no longer anywhere near the nuclear button.
I’ve actually a sneaking admiration for Prince Charles. He always comes across as an affable and decent cove, pleasant, hospitable, easy-going, generous, and a man who tries to engage with the people on a real, human level despite his privileged position. He’s into rainforest conservation, green issues, and new urbanism.
He’s also a keen and enthusiastic painter, who immerses himself in painting watercolours (primarily landscapes and royal homes)to escape his intense social obligations.
The Telegraph’s art critic has dismissed his paintings as “prosaic” and “torpor-inducingly conventional” (but who’s ever cared the pseudo-snobbery of some supercilious a critic?), and Charles has always maintained a refreshingly self-deprecating attitude to his work (“This will look much better further away. I think about a hundred yards.”).
The point is he uses art as art should be embraced: as a creative, emotional, expressive outlet; a medium through which you can be yourself and not give two hoots about anyone else’s opinion.
True, all of the Fab Four have shown some interest in the visual arts since their early days of warbling the likes of Hey, Jude and All You Need Is Love. Paul McCartney, however, has arguably out-shone all the others and emerged as the Beatle with the most impressive oeuvre.
Ol’ Macca – unlike John Lennon, who went to art school and sketched prolifically throughout the 60s and 70s – indulged in his artistic endeavours much later in life, during the 80s. This was largely due to his friendship with abstract expressionist Willem de Kooning.
Unlike his music, though, McCartney originally preferred to keep his paintings private, and was quite insecure about them until de Kooning encouraged him to display his artistic creations. McCartney did this in 1999 at a small gallery in Siegen, Germany, and his UK gallery debut was held a year later at the Arnolfini in Bristol.
He’s since had a comprehensive volume of his artwork published by Bullfinch Press, entitled, appropriately enough, Paul McCartney: Paintings .
Billy Dee Williams
Who’d have ever thought that Han Solo’s old double-crossing buddy, Lando Calrissian, would have spent his post Evil Empire-fighting days holding a paintbrush rather than blasting Stormtroopers?
Williams’ – who was raised in Harlem – actually began his career as an artist, having studied at the National Academy Museum and School of Fine Arts. He initially took on acting roles to support his artistic inclinations….and just look what happened. Needless to say his artistic career was put on hold while he fought in galaxies far, far away.
Drawn back to the canvas in the late 80s, he’s since produced a steady catalogue of work, primarily made up of expressionistic paintings. He cites his influences as Frida Kahlo and Edward Hopper, and his work has been shown at a plethora of international galleries and exhibitions.
And the list doesn’t end there. Ex-Bond Pierce Brosnan, Sylvester Stallone, Marilyn Manson, and one Johnny Depp are all pretty proficient with a paintbrush.
Can you think of any others? Share in the comments.
Bio: Elise Leveque is a passionate writer and art enthusiast who tries to add as many artistic strings to her bow as possible. She recommends Art Gallery.