For Johnny Depp there has always been art. Before acting, and before music, art has always been an important outlet for his creativity. While his acting skills are obviously the foundation of his fame, the recent reception to his music with Hollywood Vampires and Jeff Beck has encouraged him, and emboldened him, to share his art.
Johnny’s debut collection of limited edition artwork sees him focus on Friends & Heroes; people he has known well, and who have inspired him as a person. Each image is an intimate reflection of their character in Johnny's eyes; a portrayal of how they have revealed themselves to him.
Working from photographic references, each image has been stripped back to a simpler and iconic portrayal of the subject, which Johnny has then developed and energised with his characteristic freehand flourishes.
Johnny's art exists at the intersection of 'Pop Art' and 'Street Art'. Recognisable images of people in popular culture are recast in vibrant, bright colours and overlayed with the energy and wit of Street Art. The result is a series of iconic images of media figures that have moved beyond the impersonal graphic simplicity of Pop Art. It's Pop Art with feeling.
Image credit: Elliot Nyman
As an actor, Depp is known for his depth of research and commitment to characterisation. He is an innate student of human behaviour; studying, translating, and harnessing 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 utilise the subtlest nuance.
He has wielded this skill in his visual art, using it to create a true authenticity and depth in the 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 subjects revealed most keenly to him, or are his strongest points of recall when revisiting times shared and memories made
With his sketchbook as a permanent fixture in his hand, rarely is there a time when Depp isn’t sketching or visually conceptualising the world around him. His mind rejects the ordinary, challenges the accepted and oscillates between the pictorial and the lyrical, giving rise to his own multilayered expressionistic style.
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