Daily Mail

Depp’s £4.5m daubings

Pirates of the Caribbean star turns portrait painter ... and earns himself a small fortune in just five days

- By Liz Hull

HIS next artistic venture will find him directing a film about the life of penni-less Italian painter and sculptor Modigliani.

But yesterday it emerged that Johnny Depp’s own career as an artist is proving much more lucrative – after he sold more than £4.5million of paintings in only a few days last week.

A series of limited edition prints of reggae star Bob Marley, writer Hunter S Thompson and actors Heath Ledger and River Phoenix went up for sale through the Cas-tle Fine Art Gallery, in London’s Covent Garden, last Monday.

Yesterday a spokesman said the bold and brightly coloured prints, which cost £4,500 each, or £17,500 for all four, had nearly sold out in five days. ‘On Friday they had vir-tually all gone, there were just a handful of the River Phoenix prints left,’ he said. ‘I expect they will have sold out as well by now.’

It is the second exhibition in Depp’s ‘Friends and Heroes’ col-lection to go on sale in the UK. The first, which featured folk leg-end Bob Dylan, Rolling Stone Keith Richards, actress Elizabeth Taylor and actor Al Pacino, also sold out within hours last July.

It means that, in the past seven months alone, Depp has netted more than £8million from his art.

Yesterday the Pirates of the Carib-bean star, 59, told the Mail he was ‘really touched’ that people were interested in work he did ‘outside of his day job’.

He said he was spending more time in Europe and the UK, and

‘Very creative environmen­t’

‘loved’ London, which he described as a ‘very creative environmen­t.’

‘For many years, I really held myself strictly to just the day job of the film business, even though I’ve always needed to escape into a blank piece of paper, whether it be writing, drawing or painting a blank canvas,’ he said. ‘Tackling something for the first time with no idea of what’s about to com-mence and what it will come out to be is deeply fulfilling.

‘For people to actually see this stuff now for the first time, to react the way that they have, so positively, to whatever I have made is very moving.’

It is not the only time Depp has pursued other creative outlets. In fact, he has previously said music is his first love. He performed with his own band and with his friend, guitar legend Jeff Beck, who died in January. They released a record, called 18, together last July.

Depp described the subjects of his paintings as ‘legends’ with Phoenix and Ledger making their mark despite not having ‘enough time on this earth.’ The sale comes after Depp’s high-profile US court case against his ex-wife Amber Heard last year.

A jury found an article she wrote about her experience­s as a survi-vor of domestic abuse to be defamatory and awarded Depp £12million in damages.

Ms Heard later won one of three counter-claims, successful­ly argu-ing Depp’s press agent defamed her and she was handed £1.5mil-lion compensati­on.

It followed Depp’s UK libel case against the Sun newspaper in November 2020, which he lost, over an article that called him a ‘wife beater’. The judge said the newspaper proved what was writ-ten to be ‘substantia­lly true’.

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 ?? ?? Artist: Johnny Depp at work with his paints. Inset: Signing one of his works
Artist: Johnny Depp at work with his paints. Inset: Signing one of his works
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 ?? ?? Gone too soon: Depp’s tribute to actor Heath Ledger
Gone too soon: Depp’s tribute to actor Heath Ledger
 ?? ?? Trailblaze­r: Depp’s portrait of Hunter S Thompson
Trailblaze­r: Depp’s portrait of Hunter S Thompson
 ?? ?? Legend: Bob Marley features in the collection
Legend: Bob Marley features in the collection

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