Painting celebrities – seeking freedom in painting

 September 6, 2019

Photo via Lucy Liu

Most of us have never heard that Johnny Depp, Adrien Brody, Sylvester Stallone, Jim Carrey, Lucy Liu, Dennis Hopper, James Franco, Anthony Hopkins, Wiggo Mortensen, Jennifer Aniston, Michelle Pfeiffer would have other creative talents than acting and that they also paint, and probably most people have not even seen any of their artwork.

They might be actors who have achieved worldwide success and who’s names are known all over the world but with an intrinsic desire to express themselves individually and independently in a different form, through painting.

Many of these actors have actually started their creative careers painting, some of them studied it and planned to become painters. Eventhough they left painting at one point in their lives, it eventually came back later with full force. Even if the various paths of life for many changes, the creativity and passion for painting eventually creeps in to become alive again.

This is how it happened to Lucy Liu as well. Liu has always been an artist, she explains in an interview to the Guardian. Even while she was working on movies, whenever she found time in between, she would be drawing and creating. At one point she decided to move back to New York, focusing on art and enrolling at the New York Studio School.

"I realised it was something I needed to do," she says in the interview, "it was important for me to go in that direction for my own sanity. So I went for the summer and I just realised, 'Oh my God. There's so much here that I need to explore.'"

It seems to be a contradiction but many of these famous actors are not free in the sense we imagine them to be. They live most of their times in a world where it is hardly easy to be their own selves, they have to conform to different identities, expectations, ideals.

Photo via Lucy Liu

“It was important for me to go in that direction for my own sanity. So I went for the summer and I just realised, 'Oh my God. There's so much here that I need to explore.'“
— Lucy Liu
actress / artist / advocate The Guardian

However when they paint, they can be whoever they truly are, they can immerse themselves authentically in their own expressions, they are the masters of their own voices.

Photo via Jim Carrey

“I believe the purpose of art is to bring people into presence, to free them from thoughts of their past or their future,” declares Jim Carrey in his artist state- ment. “This involvement, this presence, this “Freedom From Concern“ is what I playfully refer to as The Church of FFC.”

“It is what I now seek for myself: freedom through honesty, freedom through absurdity, freedom through expression of every kind,” continues Jim Carrey in his interview in Palm Springs Life.

L’art pour l’art is their motto when painting. Some of them paint to raise their own emotional depths, to develop and get in touch more with their true selves, some of them make use of their names to promote causes, to raise funds, to make our world a better place. In all cases they are part of raising and uplifting the level of consciousness of humanity.

Photo via Sylvester Stallone

“I’m not just painting for painting’s sake. I want to be truthful.“
— Sylvester Stallone
Daily Mail UK

The desire to express oneself through creativity comes in many different forms. Art is a link to the soul and those who tap into it find different channels to get to it. Painting is freedom and a way to develop freedom. To the question “What does painting give you?” Adrien Brody answered to Parade:

“Tremendous freedom. My work as an actor is limited by the voice of the director and the writing,” describes it Brody.

In this world of consumerism, high speed movement and a huge amount of distractions, painting is a way to find and reflect the voice within, bringing it to light, without limitations.

“I’m representing the brightness of fish that can live in the darkest corners of the Earth, and how there are parallels between the fragility of that and our own souls,” Brody explains his “Hooked“ series to Vice, “that there needs to be a lightness during darker times that we exist in, and that needs to be cultivated and protected. The paint splattering is also represen- tative of this uniqueness in the creatures. No two images could be the same, just as no two living beings are the same.”

No one has to be famous in order to paint and to follow a passion, just as it is not necessary to paint in order to immerse oneself in the world of painting. Being a viewer of art, having passion towards art can give as much sense of freedom as the creation part in itself.

“When I’m involved in creation, whether it be a movie, a painting, a joke, a song, or a sculpture, it stops the world for me,” says Jim Carrey in his artist statement. “At best, I think an artist’s work also stops the viewer from thinking, worrying, or dressing what they are looking at with their mood or interpretation, bringing them into presence as well,” describes Jim Carrey more in Palm Springs Life.

The examples of these famous actors reflect our human need of self expression, since none of them really “need” to create other than for a higher and more truthful purpose. Within this fast paced world that drives and distracts us every minute, the part of ourselves seeking individual self expression through any form of art, whether by creating it or being part of it, leads us to an innate desire to leave the drama, the noise, the crowd behind for the sake of hearing our pure voice again.

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