Actors as Artists

You see a famous actor and you immediately think they’ve got it all: looks, money, fame, the works! But add a paintbrush to the mix and what do you get? An all-rounder? That seems unfair to the rest of us peasants who have a ratio of 0-0 out of the aforementioned list. 

The internet exploded with Brad Pitt’s debut in the art world, where he displayed his sculptures at a group show called ‘We’ with musician Nick Cave and artist Thomas Houseago at the Sara Hilden Art Museum in Tampere, Finland. Half the world wished it would be a sad attempt at Pitt’s part, but like his successful career, his art took off.

Pitt’s sculptures, made out of clay, plaster, rebar, and wood, elude themes of violence and frustration, with the understanding of primal human nature in each nine works displayed. One is a coffin-size box made of bronze and shows faces, feet, and hands seemingly trying to escape from the box. One is a house-shaped sculpture made of silicon and riddled with bullets. There’s another sculpture of a man putting his head in a vice. Another still, one of his largest works, is a plaster relief that depicts a gunfight between eight or so figures. It is titled ‘Aiming at You I Saw Me But It Was Too Late This Time’

The actor turned artist made a statement, “For me, it’s about self-reflection. It was born out of ownership over what I call a radical inventory of the self. And getting really brutally honest with me and taking account of those I may have hurt and the moments I’ve just gotten wrong.” More specifically, he said, “It’s about, you know, where have I gotten it wrong in my relationships? Where have I misstepped? Where am I complicit?” Since his divorce from Angelina Jolie in 2017, Pitt found solace in sculpting and he’s been making works ever since. He now has a studio in LA where famously he and Leonardo DiCaprio bond over their shared love of pottery.

It seems Brad Pitt isn’t the only all rounder actor we know, and there are several celebrities we know who are covert artists. Here’s a list of eight other famous people who can also pick a paintbrush or two: 

1. Sylvester Stallone uses painting as a way to visualise his thoughts ― or even his movie characters ― before putting them into words

2. Beatles musician and art enthusiast Paul McCartney has created a number of paintings and lithographs, characterised by vivid colours

3. Lucy Liu’s engagement with painting has helped the actress shed a light on her childhood

4. Acclaimed actor Anthony Hopkins creates vibrant paintings based on instinct

5. Mostly known for his comic roles, Jim Carrey has also been making art, from paintings and sculptures to puppets and politically-charged cartoons

6. Working with oils and acrylics, actor Pierce Brosnan paints figurative and landscape portraits, which he often donates to charity auctions

7. The slightly unsettling paintings of actor Johnny Depp are influenced by artist Jean-Michel Basquiat

8. Painting, video, performance, and photography are among the artforms actor and director James Franco has been involved with

Artist, critic and a self proclaimed historian. I write about the this and thats, odds and ends, and etceteras of the art world.

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