Johnny Depp is a box of surprises. The actor – who is about to debut as a film director – takes advantage of the time between filming and shooting to indulge his hobbies, among which are drawing and painting. And while this passion is not new, it was not long ago that the Pirates of the Caribbean star decided to publicly share his art. These days, the artist is selling a new collection of hand-painted portraits for thousands of dollars.
Titled “Friends & Heroes II,” this new collection consists of four silkscreen prints of stars such as Heath Ledger, Bob Marley, River Phoenix and Hunter S. Thompson and is available for $21,000 at London’s Castle Fine Art gallery. As reported by Variety, two weeks ago the pieces could be purchased individually, an initiative that caused the 780 copies to sell out quickly.
“Each image is an intimate reflection of his character in Johnny’s eyes, a representation of how they have revealed themselves to him,” the gallery’s website explains of his work alongside a photo of the artist next to one of his creations. “Working from photographic references, each image has been reduced to a simpler, more iconic representation of the subject, which Johnny has then developed and energized with his characteristic freehand flourishes,” the description adds.
This is the second part of a collection Depp exhibited last year with portraits of Keith Richards, Al Pacino, Bob Dylan and Elizabeth Taylor. “As an actor, Depp is known for his depth of research and commitment to characterization. He is an innate student of human behavior, studying, translating and harnessing the qualities he sees in others to weave into the tapestry of the persona he is creating. This has resulted in laser-sharp powers of observation and the ability to identify and utilize the subtlest of nuances,” his bio says on the same page.
But what motivated Depp to pay homage to these iconic figures? “He has exercised this skill in his visual art, using it to create a true authenticity and depth in portraits of those who have become the most important figures in his life, those who have altered the course of his life, providing influence and inspiration. A closer look at his portraiture reveals the qualities that Depp felt his models revealed to him most intensely, or are his strongest points of recollection as he revisits shared times and created memories,” he says.
Undoubtedly, painting has been an avenue of catharsis for the actor after his bitter and scandalous legal battle in court with his ex-wife, Amber Heard, who publicly accused him of domestic abuse. “I have always used art to express my feelings and to reflect on those who matter most to me, such as my family, my friends and the people I admire. My paintings surround my life, but I kept them to myself and limited myself. No one should ever limit themselves. He explained in 2022 when he surprised with his first exhibition called “NFT”: Never Fear Truth, which not only included portraits of Hollywood stars such as Marlon Brando, Elizabeth Taylor and Tim Burton, but also some of his daughter Lily-Rose Depp and fictional heroes created by his son, Jack Depp.
Currently, the Kentucky-born artist divides his time between his brushes, his film career and his imminent debut as a director, as he is currently working on a biopic of Italian artist Amedeo Modigliani, produced by Al Pacino.
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