The Celebrity Connection

No doubt about it – celebrity sells. Many artists have found an audience through making art that celebrates the celebrity connection, in different mediums and for different purposes. Several artists share their work and inspiration.

 

"Erie P()P", 292"x144", vinyl film ~ © 2012 Todd Scalise / Higherglyphics

“Erie P()P”, 292″x 144″, vinyl film, © 2012 Todd Scalise/Higherglyphics

 

Todd Scalise

When I was commissioned by the Erie Art Museum to create a four-story historical narrative mural about Erie, I had to include celebrities who live in the area. What I find most interesting, and also technically challenging, about celebrity portraiture is that you inevitably have to work from photographs. It’s not as easy as just copying a photo either. Usually, I combine different photos into one creating funny distortions which I find to be an amusing starting point.

 

"Marilyn" by Saud Omran. See his art in "The Celebrity Connection" at www.ArtsBusinessInstitute.org

“Marilyn” wood engraving, 20″ x 26″ by Saud Omran

 

Saud Omran

Marilyn is so iconic, naturally this design is one of our bestsellers. Our wood wall art is a new take on portraying celebrity. It’s a unique medium that creates a real conversation piece. We create custom orders for our clients, and it is amazing to see how often celebrity image requests come into our hands.

 

Different Shades Of Stevie by Anitra Frazier. See her at in "The Celebrity Connection" at www.ArtsBusinessInstitute.org

Different Shades Of Stevie, oil on canvas,16″ x 20″, by Anitra Frazier

 

Anitra Frazier

R&B Music had always been a staple in my household as a kid. When I hear certain songs, a memory is usually attached to it. As I started getting serious about pursuing art as a business, I decided to paint what excited me the most, the musical artists that were the soundtrack of my life. I find that those in my age range purchase these paintings. They will engage me in a personal story that the image sparked for them. When someone can relate to your art, there is a greater chance that they will buy it or tell others about it.

 

When Doves Cry by Jodi Bee. See her art included in "The Celebrity Connection" published at www.ArtsBusinessInstitute.org

When Doves Cry, 2016, 16″, Analog collage, paint, and ink, by Jodi Bee

 

Jodi Bee

This body of work was made as a way to honor some of my favorite musician’s legacies. Creating art, for me, has always gone hand in hand with listening to music, and letting the visual art be informed by it. These works were made while listening to the music each subject had recorded in their lifetime. Some of them contain an element of mourning the loss of the continued creative contributions and the unique vacancy left behind by their passing. In sharing the works with other fans of these musicians, a connection is made instantly between patrons and the visual artist.

 

"Portrait of Steve Buscemi" by Hallie Edlund. See her work in "The Celebrity Connection" at www.ArtsBusinessInstitute.org

“Portrait of Steve Buscemi” pencil, 11″ 14″ by Hallie Edlund

 

Hallie Edlund

I love to draw unusual faces! There’s something so fun in capturing a character actor like Steve Buscemi or John C. Riley in an academic style portrait, when you would normally think of them solely as the roles they play on screen. I’m also a movie buff, so drawing celebrities fits hand in hand with drawing portraiture.

 

"Michael's Sacred Heart" by Jennifer Gillooly Cahoon. See her art in "The Celebrity Connection" at www.ArtsBusinessInstitute.org

“Michael’s Sacred Heart” Mixed Media on Canvas, 36″x 48″ by Jennifer Gillooly Cahoon

 

Jennifer Gillooly Cahoon

I became interested in portraying celebrities shortly after teaching myself to paint in 2011. My goal is to always strive to create more than just a likeness. I push myself to capture something ethereal about my subjects; to capture their essence if you will. Most are tributes, honoring the departed. Collectors of my work regularly comment that they connect with the pieces on a deep emotional level tied to their personal life stories.

 

"Portrait of Marco Rubio" by Emmanuel Gonzales. See his art in "The Celebrity Connection" at www.ArtsBusinessInstitute.org

The artist and subject of his painting pose with “Portrait of Marco Rubio”, oil on canvas.

 

Emmanuel Gonzales

Portraiture is a focus of much of my work. Subjects include many famous faces, past and present, fictional and non. These characters – pulled from a variety of genres including politics, music, film, history, and literature – are carefully selected to engage the viewer not only with the artist, but with themselves and with the world around them. This process goes far beyond the recognition factor inherent to pop culture. Whatever memories, experiences, or opinions the viewer has (or doesn’t have) in relation to a given subject will affect the way they interpret the art.

 

 

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Comments

  1. Great article! Thank you for including Higherglyphics.

    • George reynolds says:

      Mine is a question more than a comment, in that I would like to know if you, as an artist need the subjects permission to paint or draw or wood carve their likeness. Also, if they are no longer alive, do you need their heirs permission, like Marilyn or Elvis in that their heirs maintain copyrights of their likeness, I assume? I especially like the Steve Buschemi portraiture, because he really was a regular guy( New York Firefighter) before pursuing the arts through acting workshops and onto the silver screen. His is an interesting biography, also.

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