Over the years, many celebrities have been the subject of artworks by famous artists and celebrities are also turning the tables by creating their own works of art. Actress Tilda Swinton did a performance piece for MoMA by sleeping in a glass box. Rapper/business mogul/husband to superstar Beyoncé, Jay Z did a performance piece at Pace Gallery. And in 2015, MoMA presented a retrospective of 20 years of the multidisciplinary work of composer/singer/musician Björk. Additionally, here are 10 celebrities who dabble in art.
1. Lucy Liu, an actress best known for her roles in Kill Bill and Charlie’s Angels, has been creating abstract art for years under the pseudonym Yu Ling but recently she has begun exhibiting as herself. See more of Liu’s art work via her website.
2. Marilyn Monroe, the Hollywood blonde bombshell inspired a famous painting by Andy Warhol but the actress herself also created a painting of a red rose meant as a birthday gift to President John F. Kennedy. It was inscribed, “Happy Birthday Pres. Kennedy from Marilyn Monroe.” For reasons unknown, the painting was never delivered, and in 2005 the painting was sold for $78,000
3. Johnny Depp – You know him as an actor most notably for his Pirates of the Caribbean movie franchise and a musician, but did you know he has also dabbled in photography, drawing and painting for years? Depp has created several paintings of celebrities including Marlon Brando, Tim Burton, Keith Richards, Serge Gainsbourg, and Vanessa Paradis, the mother of his children. View more of Depp’s artwork on the actor’s fansite.
4. James Dean – The iconic 50s heartthrob painted, did works in watercolor, pen, and ink and even sculpture. His most accomplished work is arguably a painting called Portrait of Billy Gunn, which is the actor’s last known work. The painting depicts Dean’s best friend and roommate.
5. James Franco – Speaking of James Dean, actor James Franco not only depicted James Dean in a 2001 biopic, but like Dean, the actor also creates art in his spare time, that is when he’s not directing, teaching, writing, and reviewing movies for VICE.
6. Dennis Hopper – The legendary artist director also had a keen interest in photography, painting and sculpture. His career as a visual artist began as a child when he took lessons at the Nelson-Atkins Museum in Kansas City Missouri. You can view Hopper’s exhibition history on his website.
7. David Bowie – The late glam rocker/singer/songwriter amassed an impressive art collection over the years but he also studied art and design and created art for years, which he finally began exhibiting in the 90s.
8. Joni Mitchell -The renowned singer/songwriter has been called one of the most influential female recording artists of the 20th century. Mitchell describes herself as a painter derailed by circumstance, and she created the artwork for many of her album covers. View Mitchell’s paintings on her website.
9. Jim Carrey – The actor/comedian has been making us laugh for years since he got his break in the sketch comedy show, In Living Color, which also launched the career of celebrity entertainer Jennifer Lopez. But Carrey is also an artist who has been producing art since childhood.
10. Anthony Hopkins -The academy award winning actor, well-known for his role as Hannibal Lecter in the movie Silence of the Lambs, as well as character-driven works in a variety of British period pieces, is also a painter.
I have presented these artworks by celebrities without critique. For a hilarious, sometimes scathing critique of celebrity-artists, take a gander art professor Mark Van Proyen’s review on the Broke Ass Stuart blog.