Art & Style

Hidden Talents: Famous People You Didn’t Know Were Artists

Popular Everything has compiled this list of actors and musicians you didn’t know were making art in their spare time. In many ways, a visual artist is comparable to an actor or musician, requiring skill in self-expression. Either way, we’re seeing recurring reasons why these a-listers find themselves creating in the first place; art as therapy, art for a cause, and even art for art’s sake.

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Image: HuffPost

Declaring themselves as artists suggests emotional intelligence and depth, adding to their mystery. It wouldn’t be a stretch to imagine that for some, creating art justifies the feelings of superiority that fame might inspire. Are they offering us sincere expression or trying to legitimize their fame? So, are they talented artisans or self-righteous celebrities? Take a look at these photos, and we’ll let you be the judge.

Pierce Brosnan Finds Therapy in Painting

What started as a therapeutic hobby in the late ’80s, the former 007 star has turned his pastime into a regular cash cow after selling his Bob Dylan portrait. The piece sold for a whopping $1.4 million in a 2018 Cannes charity gala. Today a self-identifying colorist, he declares that after his late wife’s cancer diagnosis “I started painting again and out came every color.”

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Image: The Rake

Upon viewing his paintings, it’s unsurprising he should cite the likes of Matisse, Picasso, and Kandinsky amongst his influences. He acknowledges that “art for me has become a focal point in my life” and, these days, aims to share it with the public. Keep your eyes out for an upcoming exhibition of his works later this year.

Serena Williams, an Abstract Visionary?

Tennis sensation, Serena Williams has been painting for over a decade. We caught a peek into her style during her Art Basel clothing line launch in 2018, which she adorned with her abstract paintings.

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Image: WWD

With her red oil painting (above) Serena attempted to render the layers of anger in people. “I really feel like sometimes you only see one layer of that. But it goes deeper. It’s from hurt, it’s from being abused, it talks about that, going through different violence… It’s all those layers that a person has in them. As a human, you don’t really see those layers that we will walk around with. You only really see one. But this really represents all the layers under.”

Johnny Depp’s Fascination with Faces

While the contents of his multi-million dollar art collection continue to remain a mystery (Warhol, Basquiat, and Klimt reportedly among the likes), Depp has revealed a glimpse into some of his own painting creations. “What I love to do is paint people’s faces, y’ know, their eyes,” he told Vanity Fair. “Because you want to find that emotion, see what’s going on behind.”

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Images: Depp Impact / E! Online

Frequently, his subject matter is often a figure of great personal inspiration. His portrait of Marlon Brando speaks of the intimacy between them, depicting the infamous Godfather deep in thought and contemplation. As he declared, “He was a great teacher for me, a great mentor, a great friend.”

Miley Cyrus Accused of Plagiarizing Risqué Fruit Artist

It’s true, Miley Cyrus is a multimedia artist. In her 2014 Dirty Hippie exhibition in New York, she displayed for the first time her sculpture creations which, in her own words, were made up of “a bunch of junk.” After some health issues earlier in the year, she felt inspired to glue together the random items sent to her by fans over the years.

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Image: Fad Magazine

Whilst she hasn’t returned to a gallery space yet, she has found herself in controversy this summer in accusations of artistic plagiarism. In a teaser video for an upcoming EP, Cyrus appears to suggestively caress fruit in a manner akin to artist Stephanie Sarley. Perhaps there’s more questionable material on the horizon for this pop star.

Sylvester Stallone’s First Real Love

Bold silhouettes and the liberal use of solid primary colors have defined Stallone’s paintings for over 40 years. A self-identifying visual artist, he declares painting his first real love and would, if given the opportunity, have chosen to live an artist’s life rather than an actor’s. A large palette knife being his tool of choice, he cities the likes of Rothko, Warhol, and Basquiat among his Modern Art influences.

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Image: Architectural Digest

We can see a shift in Stallone’s paintings of later years. He includes more elements of abstract expressionism, working with a muted-down color palette that seems of a more thoughtful nature. As editor Adam Geczy commented on his recent work, “It may be understood as an artist attempting to communicate fundamental truths about the secrets of nature and the limits of our rational understanding.”

Boundary-Pushing Lucy Liu

This Hollywood actress turned contemporary artist proves it’s possible to earn the respect of the critical art scene despite a showbiz background. In the last few years, her twitter followers bore witness to her experiments in various mediums, sculpting to printmaking alike. She has now completed her first exhibition in Singapore, Unhomed Belongings, consisting of pieces composed of “repurposed objects.”

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Image: Barnabys

Liu’s Shunga Collection (above) takes heavy inspiration from Japanese erotica; a response to her restrained upbringing in a reserved Chinese family. Where sex and nudity was a taboo subject in her childhood, present-day Liu refuses to censor herself.

Marilyn Monroe Gift’s a Painting to the President

A single red rose watercolor was procured in Monroe’s belongings in 1962. Meant for President John F. Kennedy, the inscription reads “President Kennedy, Happy Birthday and again I say Happy Birthday. Always, Marilyn Monroe, June 1, 1962.”

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Images: Julien’s Auctions / Cell Code

Sold for $78,000 in 2005, this rare painting stands as the only piece of evidence that the icon held a secret pastime in paints. The work of art provides us with uncommon insight into the private life of one of Hollywood’s most glamorous icons.

Anthony Hopkins’ Unintentional Passion

When he’s not frightening us, silver screen heavyweight Anthony Hopkins is in his studio playing with colors, “mixing them up and creating shapes.” He opts for the use of fast-drying acrylic paints which suits his offhand style. He acknowledges “I don’t make any conscious effort, I just paint as it takes me.”

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Image: Vogue

Hopkins is refreshingly laid back and uncalculated about his favorite hobby. Prompted by his wife to pick up the brush 15 years ago, today he mainly finds inspiration in portraits: “I mostly do faces now – I have no idea why they just came to me. I don’t make any conscious effort, I just paint as it takes me.”

Jemima Kirke Returns to Life as an Artist

After five years starring in HBO’s hit series Girls, Kirke has stepped back from the limelight and returned to her former passion. Trained as a painter, what used to take her a week to complete now can take a few years. She asserts “they change to me, sometimes I look at a painting I did a few years ago and I see something else I didn’t before, and I’d prefer to go with that.”

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Image: Semaine

Despite her TV success, it hasn’t been an easy road to self-acceptance for Kirke. “I was a little prideful and saw acting as a lesser medium, which is so silly; looking at a script is actually very similar to what I do painting people and scenes from life.” Today she sees acting and painting as synonymous; “I see acting as an extension of being an artist… you can choose to portray it as exactly as you see it physically sitting in front of you, or you can make art out of it.”

Rennaisance Man David Bowie

Is there anything he can’t do? It seems there aren’t enough creative outlets for this jack of all trades; from fashion to poetry to acting, Bowie has done it all. Heavily influenced by German Expressionism, his portraits are strikingly eery and unsettling. He was known to “depict intense emotions such as distress, rage, sexuality, and fear.”

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Image: Art Versed

Having studied art in his youth, he continued to paint throughout his life, perhaps without fully realizing his fine art ambitions. As South African artist, Beezy Bailey once said, “He wanted to be thought of as a valid artist. But to be taken seriously as a painter when you are a musical genius is virtually impossible.”

Chris Brown the Painter?

If his Instagram posts are anything to go by, Rapper Chris Brown is a dab hand at graffiti art. He has put his talents to good use, raising money for charities like The Elton John AIDS Foundation and Best Buddies International. His Los Angeles home is also adorned with his whimsical animations, in which he opts for bright, candy-colored tones.

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Image: XXL Magazine

There were rumors of an upcoming exhibition of paintings from Brown, having teased last year that his focus of late had been on fine art and that he “can’t wait to do an exhibit.” As of yet, however, his fans are patiently hanging on.

Bob Dylan’s Fixation with Life in America

Dylan’s paintings and drawings tend to divide opinions. To some, they’re a self-indulgent amusement. To others, they capture the “essence of Americana.” Motels, drive-ins, open roads; there is a definite attempt to capture the overlooked elements of life in America. His style is undeniably straightforward – in other words, what you see is what you get.

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Image: The New York Review of Books

Dylan’s work has been compared to that of David Hockney’s and it’s a valid assertion. As one critic put it, “He expands his sketches into huge paintings in drunken abandon to the power of color. Purple skies, lurid neons, wet greens and fierce reds – the colors of Dylan’s landscape are subtle, rich, with just a hint of apocalypse.”

Joni Mitchell is a Painter First

It may come as a surprise that legendary singer-songwriter Joni Mitchell thinks of herself foremost as a painter. Whilst her visual art is a far lesser-known affair, devoted fans will likely be familiar with her self-portraiture. “I have always thought of myself as a painter derailed by circumstance,” she revealed to Toronto Globe and Mail.

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Image: Pinterest

For Mitchell, painting is an extension of her career; “I sing my sorrow and I paint my joy.” It would feel like an oversight not to take into account her visual art in assessing her creative contribution.

Shia Labeouf’s Borderless Art

Transformers lead Labeouf has been making a name for himself as a performance artist, recognizing the often overlooked potential of social media to send his projects viral. Using hashtags as a prerequisite to his project names, he encourages his audience to participate in the conversation and sometimes, even the performance.

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Image: Esquire

The #TakeMeAnywhere project was an unprecedented concept between Labeouf and artists Rönkkö & Turner, which saw them upload their location coordinates on Twitter with an invitation for anyone to pick them up and take them wherever. Labeouf likes to push the boundaries of performance art, choosing to shed light on stigmatized subjects like mental health issues, with depression, loneliness and fear of intimacy being common themes.

Viggo Mortensen Wants His Audience to Concentrate

This Lord of the Rings star stands out amongst his peers for his commitment to self-expression. The Academy Award nominee can add poet, photographer, musician, and painter to his oeuvre. His publishing house Perceval Press acts as his channel for what is now a sizeable body of work.

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Image: Pinterest

Mortensen’s drive stems from his desire to move an audience, whether he achieves it through acting or another medium. He expresses a longing to take people on a journey in the hopes that the creator and audience observe the same details. In his own words, “It’s kind of contagious when it’s working when you take the time to pay attention.”

The Reason You Haven’t Heard Much from Jim Carrey Lately

Carrey has exhibited a great commitment to his artistic expression. 2017 saw the actor release a 6-minute documentary titled I Need Colour, in which Carrey explains that his preoccupation with painting is responsible for his apparent acting hiatus lately. While he has been especially prolific in the last eight years, it hasn’t prevented the explosive criticisms his work has received.

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Image: Vulture

Carrey hasn’t let his critics deter him. “Making art, in general, is not really a choice,” he explains. “I’m being painted and I’m being expressed and I’m being created, and there’s little me involved.”

Val Kilmer Uses Art to Talk About His Fame

Anyone who’s following Kilmer on Twitter or Facebook is well aware of his foray into the contemporary art scene. Pop art, conceptual art, abstract art… none is off-limits, and since his debut New York exhibition VALHOLLA, Kilmer has been seeking validation as a legitimate artist. Described by the hosting gallery as “contemporary gestural abstractions,” his pieces revealed the complicated relationship he has with his own identity as a film star.

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Image: Alamy

His paintings often reflect on his own feelings of self-worth and his relationship with fame. He explains, “I’ve been in a transition and focusing in on this moment of moving through a period of my life as the concept of a black hole – one’s third act or for an actor, from lead to character parts. Its this moment of identifying the passageway, that black hole moment, and the promise of recognition that it’s not black at all.”

Steven Tyler’s Creations Are For Sale

For over a decade, Aerosmith frontman Steven Tyler has been selling his motif-adorned paintings. Represented by the Beverly Hills-based Mouche Gallery, you can buy his creations from anywhere between $1000-$3000.

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Images: Mouche Gallery / Billboard

Keeping on brand with his rock’n’roll image, the skull is a recurring emblem in his paintings. Gallery director Gerard Marti, Tyler’s previous representative, claims “For Steven, the skull is the box that contains your brain, the most essential part of the body. It’s also a symbol of power, and eternity, when the body decomposes, the skull stays forever.”

The Comic Art of Macauley Culkin

Home Alone star Macauley Culkin, who acquired notoriety as a child actor, forms one-third of the art collective 3MB (Three Men and a Baby). Making their debut in 2012, Culkin and fellow artists Toby Goodshank and Adam Green introduced their whimsical creations to the public, revealing their inclination to the playful and child-like.

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Images: Adam Green / Dlisted

Their process is unusual, involving the three of them “just literally standing in front of the canvas with paintbrushes and painting at the same time,” Green clarifies. Culkin elaborates: “It’s not necessarily about technique, it’s more about ideas. It’s more about just what you want to look at”.

Johnny Cash Wished He Had Time for Art

“I am an artist” declared Cash, despite not much being known of his visual art pursuits. Allegedly having drawn and painted throughout his life, the painting below, titled “Flight”, is one of his rare illustrations made public.

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Images: Iconic Auctions / Medium

It is been inferred that Cash didn’t possess much confidence in his ability, believing his paintings would not appeal to the fine art world. Despite encouragement from his friend Bill Miller, his intensive tour schedules prevented his private occupation from ever taking off.

Dennis Hopper Is a Man of Many Skills

As if Dennis Hopper didn’t have enough talents to list on his resume, here are a few more for you. The actor and filmmaker, known for films such as Speed and Blue Velvet, has several other artistic pursuits beyond film. He is also a prolific photographer, painter, and sculptor.

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Image: Dennis Hopper

Hopper’s fascination with art originated when he was just a child, after enrolling in painting lessons in Kansas City, Missouri. His paintings often reference his work in Hollywood and his style ranges from abstract impressionism to photorealism. He later turned to photography and his work has since been featured in big-name magazines such as Vogue and various exhibitions around the world.

James Dean Enjoyed Various Forms of Creative Expression

Not many people know that actor and 1950’s cultural icon, James Dean also held a passion for the visual arts. Although he didn’t take this passion to the professional level, he did enjoy sketching and painting in his free time. Tracking down his work is no easy feat. Apparently, there are only three James Dean paintings that are known to exist today.

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Images: Albert’s Window / Artsy

Other works of art that he created are on display at the James Dean Gallery in Indiana. Dean held a great appreciation for Western art and was often seen visiting the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Some say that the star was a huge fan of the painter Manet, even going so far as to say that the pose used during the opening of Rebel Without a Cause was inspired by Manet’s 1864 painting, Dead Toreador.

Billy Dee Williams’ Art Is on Display All over the World

Williams interest in art began before he pursued a career in acting. In fact, the star is said to have picked up acting in order to earn money for art supplies. Billy Dee, most known for his role as Lando in the Star Wars film franchise once attended the National Academy of Fine Arts and Design in New York.

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Image: Pinterest

Williams enjoys painting and even has his work on display in his online gallery, BDW World Art. He has solo exhibitions in galleries throughout the U.S including the National Portrait Gallery, the Smithsonian Institution and the Schomburg Museum. Williams refers to his art as “abstract reality.” He paints with oils and acrylics and enjoys working in many different mediums.

Frank Sinatra Appreciated Abstract Art

We seem to be finding a trend of classic stars who found a second passion for the visual arts. Singer, actor and producer, Frank Sinatra was one of the most influential musicians of the 20th century and one of the best selling music artists of all time. In addition to his love for music, Sinatra also had a personal interest in art, both as a collector and as a painter himself.

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Images: ArtNet / Daily News

Sinatra focused primarily on creating oil paintings, which was a hobby he maintained for more than forty years. While some of his paintings are maintained and sold by a collector, others are on public display at the Grammy Museum in Los Angeles. Most of his paintings are said to be heavily influenced by mid-20th-century painters and abstract expressionists.

Tony Bennett’s Art Was Commissioned by the UN

Known for his show tunes and catchy jazz singles, the legendary Tony Bennet also found success as a painter. Under his real name, Anthony Benedetto, fans can find the singers artwork exhibited in galleries around the world. When seeing his work, there is no denying that this man has talent.

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Image: Architectural Digest

In 2001, Bennett, who works primarily in oil and watercolor, was chosen as the official artist for the Kentucky Derby. Among other accomplishments as a painter, he also has three works on display in the Smithsonian collection. The United Nations even commissioned Bennett for artwork commemorating its 50th anniversary in 2001.

Tony Curtis Wants to Be Known as an Artist Who Acts

Actor, Tony Curtis, also enjoyed a second career as a painter. So much so that in the last years of life, he chose to fully concentrate on painting rather than making movies. In fact, in 1987, Curtis was quoted saying, he would rather “be known as an artist who acts than an actor who paints.” The talented star often referred to iconic artists such as Picasso, Van Gogh, and Magritte as his inspirations.

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Image: Auction Zip

In 2005, his painting The Red Table joined the permanent collection of the film and media wing of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. His collection, which includes works that he saved since his childhood, included paintings done in oils, acrylics or watercolors, mixed-media works, and an illustrated journal.

Grimes Gets Her Inspiration from Japanese Anime

Singer, songwriter and record producer, Claire Elise Boucher, known professionally as Grimes, also has a lesser-known passion for visual art. In fact, the songstress even created the album art for all of her albums. Her art is strongly influenced by Japanese anime and comic artists.

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Images: Pinterest / HypeBeast

In addition to her album art, she also illustrates images for her merchandise, including T-shirts and concert posters. She is not the only one utilizing her illustration skills. Her work has appeared in prestigious gallery shows, and she has also used her talents for good by curating a two-day event at the Audio Visu Arts Gallery in NYC to raise awareness of violence against Aboriginal women in Canada.

Ringo Starr Likes to Keep Things Modern

Ringo Starr first began exploring his visual artistic side by creating acrylic and oil paintings. He then started composing ar on his computer in the late ’90s. In 2005, he reflected on this saying, “I started in the late nineties with my computer art. While I was touring it gave me something to do in all those crazy hotels you have to stay in on the road.”

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Image: Ringo Starr Art

The Beatles drummer had his first art exhibition of paintings in 2005 that he called “My Faces.” He enjoys pop art and modern media and his work is often compared to Andy Warhol and Keith Haring. “In its way, ‘Pop’ art is always changing-like ‘Pop’ artists. It’s a natural move of things like pop music and even Popeye the Sailor Man.” Ringo said. The iconic musician has exhibited his art in Europe, South America, Australia, and the U.S.

Ronnie Wood Began Drawing as a Child

Although Wood is most popularly known as being a member of the legendary rock band, The Rolling Stones, he is a man of many diverse skillsets. In addition to being a rock musician, he is also a talented songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, author, radio personality, and a visual artist.

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Image: Tumblr

Ronnie’s talents were discovered when he was just a young boy. In his childhood years, his drawings were featured on the BBC television program, Sketch Club, where he won the program’s competition. He then went on to train at the Ealing Art College. Today, his paintings, drawings, and prints, which often reference pop culture icons, are featured in exhibits all over the world. He is also the co-owner of a London art gallery called Scream.

Kim Gordon Has No Intention of Being Mainstream

As the vocalist, bassist, guitarist, and founder of the alternative rock band, Sonic Youth, Kim Gordon is clearly a woman of many talents. Although it was through her time rocking out that brought her fame, Gordon originally moved to New York not to be a rock star, but to be an artist. In 2015, 35 years after her move, Gordon finally made her dream come true with her first solo art show.

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Image: Vogue

When describing her art, Gordon was quoted saying, “None of it is mainstream. I’m fine with that. That’s never really what I set out to achieve.” She deeply credits Andy Warhol as her main inspiration for her art, which includes a series of paintings, drawings, and sculptures that she says is about “being seen and being unseen and the distortion in between.”

Marilyn Manson’s Cares as Much About Painting as Making Music

For almost a quarter of a century, the controversial singer has been a prolific painter, insisting that his visual art is as important as his music. His sinister image is echoed in his paintings, opting most times for watercolor paints to create a smoky, mysterious atmosphere surrounding his subjects. “His watercolors are both delicate and visually violent.” describes critic Josue Brocca,

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Image: Pinterest

“His watercolors are both delicate and visually violent,” describes critic Josue Brocca, likely owing to his top painting inspirations of Francis Bacon, Salvador Dalí and Egon Schiele. Painting figures and portraits are a clear preference for him, used to comment on unrealistic standards of beauty, the American media, and political issues.

Paul McCartney’s Artwork in Competition with John Lennon’s

Pop icon Paul Mccartney has displayed hundreds of his painting creations, playing with a variety of styles, such as surrealism, abstractionism, an even “cartoon-like caricatures”. On his official website, he invites you to browse select works that reflect “his humor, his inspirations, and the different periods in his life.”

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Image: Vanity Fair

“The creative rivalry that characterized John Lennon and Paul
McCartney’s musical relationship now extends to the visual arts.” writes Rolling Stone’s Jaan Uhelszki, an interesting observation as Mccartney only began painting 2 years after Lennon’s passing in 1982. Notably, he takes inspiration from other icons of pop such as Bowie and Warhol, The Queen of England, as well as his late wife Linda.

Jane Seymour Makes Instructional Art Videos

Emmy and Golden Globe winner Jane Seymour has established herself as a profitable artist for many years, even selling beginner art kits and instructional videos. A mix of oils and watercolors, her paintings are a collection of scenic and good-natured stills of nature, women, children, and flowers.

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Image: SheKnows

“Painting became like my therapy” Seymour explains, “It was part of my healing process. When I’m painting, I feel a calmness.” A common reasoning among actors and musicians who create art, painting came to the Bond girl in the wake of her divorce from her third husband, providing much need comfort.

The Prince of Wales Paints in the Open-Air

Prince Charles has a life-long relationship with watercolor painting, favoring landscapes and the occasional country mansion. Unsurprisingly, he opts to paint outdoors, attempting to finish paintings in a single sitting if possible.

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Image: Telegraph

Honorary member of the Royal Academy and the Royal Watercolour Society, Prince Charles has been taught by a variety of established artists, including Brits Hugh Casson and John Napper. He has made use of his hobby, raising almost $2.5m for his charity foundation.

Devendra Banhart on the Lookout for Artistic Recognition

Singer-songwriter Devendra Banhart gained notoriety after featuring then-girlfriend Natalie Portman in his indie/psychedelic song Carmensita, an uncomfortable parade of Bollywood stereotypes in which Portman plays a put-upon Hindi princess.

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Images: PaperMag / SCMP

The Venezuelan/Texan rockstar claims to draw daily, even coming out with a book of his sketches and paintings in 2015. While still making music and releasing albums, he seems intent on pursuing fine art professionally, exhibiting his work alongside other artists as well as solo.

John Lennon Painted What He Knew

Having studied at the reputable Liverpool Art Institute in the late fifties, Rockstar Lennon was drawn to art since childhood, having even expressed it as his first love. His sketches are child-like and humorous in nature, with a sense of spontaneity to them.

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Images: Art Brokerage / Globe Magazine

His primary tools were pen, pencil, or Japanese Sumi ink, in which he liked to illustrate his family and ordinary life. He also appears not to have been overly attached to keeping his drawings, as his late wife Yoko Ono once remarked, “he had a habit of just giving his art away to people. He was pretty generous about that.”

Courtney Love Returns to Her Former Practice

2012 saw Courtney Love unveil her artwork for the first time, in a New York exhibition titled And She’s Not Even Pretty. Using watercolors, pastels, and pencils, almost 50 works were presented, offering commentary on toxic female culture. Many of the paintings feature a nude blonde woman, thought to be Love herself.

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Images: Design Boom / Pinterest

Despite having studied at the San Francisco Art Institute in the ’80s, she insists, “I was a bad student. And then I decided I wanted to be a rock star.” Nevertheless, today Love sees song-writing to painting as one of the same: “It’s the same birth, when you’re alone and the music is really loud—the same feeling. Like Michael Stipe says, my ears are my eyes.”

Cat Stevens Is the Artist That Never Was

Yusuf Islam, commonly known as Cat Stevens, wanted to be a visual artist before music had even entered his life. Inspired by his Uncle’s success in Sweden as an acclaimed artist, he pursued fine art in his youth going on to study at Hammersmith College in London, before finding his occupation in music.

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Images: Discogs / Entertainment Weekly

Despite never having professionally sought after a career in fine art, he continued drawing and painting throughout his life and even featuring some creations on his album covers, like Tea for the Tillerman.

Tony Curtis Wants You to Know He’s Not a Celebrity Artist

Hollywood Legend Tony Curtis certainly has a turbulent personal life, with his poverty-struck childhood, WW2 military service and 6 marriages, it doesn’t surprise us that he felt a need to express himself. “When I paint, I don’t paint shapes, I paint colors,” he once remarked.

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Image: Review Journal

Curtis has mentioned Vincent Van Gogh and Pablo Picasso as strong influences on him, with Henri Matisse having had the biggest effect. However, at the suggestion that he is seen as an actor who paints, he exclaimed “I’ve been painting all my life. I am not a celebrity f****** painter! Painting to me is another vocation, another language. It’s as important to me as acting.”

James Franco Struggles to Seek Approval in the Art World

The filmmaker and star of Pineapple Express James Franco has been a prolific visual artist for years. Currently represented by Seattle’s Treason Gallery, his work is often a comment on society, highlighting the flaws in today’s America. For him, creating art as “the freedom of making something that doesn’t need to entertain, that isn’t going to be tallied up in the box-office tolls. And it’s something that, frankly, I’ve done longer than I’ve been making films.”

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Image: Collider

His work, however, has not been well received on the whole. Franco isn’t obtaining the praise he so desires to be seen as a legitimate, serious artist. In his interview with art critic Jerry Saltz, Franco addresses the artist-wannabe stereotype that follows him due to his fame. In response to this Franco says, “contemporary artists have practiced in many different mediums, and it’s not as strange for a painter to suddenly make a video than it is for an actor to go make a painting.”

Rosie O’ Donnell Paints to Redirect Her Rage

Comedian and television personality, Rosie O’ Donnell took to art as a way to channel her overwhelming emotions. After 9/11, painting became a healthy outlet for her anger and anxiety. Despite the controversy, her paintings arouse, over the years she has used her talent to raise enormous funds for AIDS research, Autism and children’s foundations.

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Image: Complex

O’ Donnell, often incorporating statements in her work, has been compared to Basquiat in style and intensity. Her images capture her nervous energy; further set-off by her unabashedly political statements in which she frequently uses words to provoke. Today, she sells her paintings on Etsy, donating the proceeds and matching the profits raised.