♢ EDITORIAL by Sal McIntyre, New York ♢
It is hard not to love any image of a beloved celebrity, infused as the pictures are with all the richness of character for which the star is adored— but when a famous person is depicted by a top notch artist, whether through photography, painting or even an illustration for something like a film poster, a new level of inspiration is achieved. Celebrating cultural heroes is really done best through the eyes of a true artist, one who has a unique perspective and distinct talent for highlighting someone’s best nature.
Seeing as the monumental musician Aretha Franklin recently passed, it calls to feature Andy Warhol’s magical image of the woman who was ranked by Rolling Stone in 2008 as the number one greatest singer of all time. Warhol’s Aretha is luminous and nostalgic, with his characteristic elements of pop and sophistication all rolled into one.
David Bailey’s raw and intimate photography is perfect to depict this lush portrait of Mick Jagger. Bailey has a knack for honing in on elements of a person’s true character, his beautiful black and white portraiture often finding a way to reveal quieter layers of his subject’s way of being.
In Homage to Martin Luther King artist Bernard Lorjou shows a beautiful lithographic rendering of one of history’s greatest figures, whose actions and message continue to be both dazzlingly important and inspirational today. Lorjou’s humanistic sketch lines and textures are displayed brilliantly by the flatness of the stone lithography process, this signed piece printed at the infamous Parisian printing house of Mourlot in 1970.
The poster for James Bond - Live and Let Die captures the quintessential Bond moment, depicting that unmistakable expression on Roger Moore’s face. This first edition film poster is a 1973 stone lithograph, a rare find.
Chris Britz makes a portrait of Obama, a clever and painterly work created with a series of stamped images of his name. The piece is as charismatic as the man himself, both inventively modern and indelibly classic at the same time, a signed original watercolor from 2008.
Another first edition film poster for The Missouri Breaks is an unusually graceful representation of two normally hard-line figures in the world of film, Marlon Brando and Jack Nicholson. This 1976 print is a real collector’s item, especially for those with a particular fondness for these wonderfully complex actors.
And no celebrity portrait exposé would be complete without mention of celebrity photographer extraordinaire Richard Avedon— these psychedelic 1967 pieces of the Beatles amongst his most intriguing. Ringo Starr and Paul McCartney get to shine compellingly in these solo arrangements thanks to Avedon’s usual talent for capturing a spirit in its entirety with just one moment.