10 Celebrities Who Became Artists
Most celebrities are lucky to get famous for having one talent, whether that’s singing or acting, or the occasional crossover artist who can do both. But for these entertainers, talent is overflowing.
Though known for the performing arts, these 10 celebrities are also accomplished visual artists: painters, sculptors, designers and more. It’s enough to give the rest of us mortals an inferiority complex.
Actress Lucy Liu has made her mark on pop culture in films such as Charlie’s Angels and Kill Bill and TV shows like Elementary and Ally McBeal. But you might not have known she is also an accomplished artist who paints under the name Yu Ling and has donated profits from her gallery shows to UNICEF.
Known for his wide-ranging acting talent from comedy classics like Ace Ventura: Pet Detective Dumb and Dumber to his more dramatic roles in The Truman Show and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Canadian comedian and actor Jim Carrey is also an accomplished sculptor and painter whose works have earned gallery placements and public acclaim.
Academy Award-winning actor Sir Anthony Hopkins is probably best known for his complex portrayal of Hannibal Lecter in The Silence of the Lambs. His stage, television and film work and his many awards are only part of who he is as a complete artist. He began painting with acrylics in 2003 after some encouragement from his wife. Though he has claimed, “I’m not really a painter,” he has two permanent exhibitions on display in Las Vegas and a website devoted to his artwork.
Audiences knew Phil Hartman from his memorable characters on Saturday Night Live, including Unfrozen Caveman Lawyer and Frankenstein, as well as his impressions of Bill Clinton, Charlton Heston and Frank Sinatra. But before TV fame hit, Hartman designed more than 40 album covers for Crosby, Stills and Nash, America, Poco, and Steely Dan.
Was there anything David Bowie couldn’t do? From his early days in glam rock through the blue-eyed soul years to his final years as a father, husband, and eternal shapeshifting artist, the Thin White Duke mastered singing, songwriting, acting and the art world as well. His paintings and sketches revealed his roots as an artist before he became a music legend. An avid art collector and bibliophile, Bowie also wrote for the magazine Modern Painters.
American folk singer and songwriter Joni Mitchell was not only an icon of the 1960s and 1970s music scene, but she was also an amazingly talented painter. Many of her pieces serve as her album covers.
Best known as Aragorn in The Lord of the Rings trilogy, Academy Award-nominated actor Viggo Mortensen used his film success to help found Perceval Press in 2002. The small company publishes books of poetry, photography and art, including Mortensen’s own work.
When her best friend was diagnosed and later succumbed to leukemia, Fleetwood Mac ingénue Stevie Nicks dealt with her grief through drawing and painting. In Nicks’ words, she only draws and paints angels, noting that drawing is like meditation for her.
Ageless crooner Tony Bennett has gifted the world stage for decades with hits including “I Left My Heart in San Francisco,” “Rags to Riches” and “Because of You.” In addition to recording duets with Lady Gaga, this 91-year-old dynamo still tours more than 250 days a year. In his down time, he’s an accomplished painter who also uses a pseudonym, his birth name, Anthony Benedetto.
Bad boy actor Dennis Hopper was best known for his roles in Speed and Easy Rider. He was friends with eccentric pop art artist Andy Warhol and was a gifted painter, photographer and sculptor in his own right.