"I turned to the world of painting and that gave me a great sense of comfort."
Hollywood is full of creative people — from actors to musicians to dancers and beyond. While these talented folks tend to find one creative outlet in which they excel, many stars can do a little bit of it all! That includes some creative pursuits that you may not expect like painting, sculpting and photography. Although celebs don’t often share these creative hobbies with the world, some stars have decided to give a look into what they create when they’re not on the clock.
Find out what these stars had to say about their passion for art…
1. Brad Pitt
Brad Pitt recently made his debut as a sculptor, putting his work on display at a gallery exhibition at The Sara Hilden Art Museum in Tampere, Finland. While the exhibit was originally only set to feature his friend Thomas Houseago, the artist convinced the museum to also include Brad’s work. While speaking about his sculptures, Brad shared that his work was about “self-reflection.”
“It’s about, you know, where have I gotten it wrong in my relationships? Where have I misstepped? Where I am complicit? It was born out of ownership over what I call a ‘radical inventory of the self.’ And getting really brutally honest with me and taking account of those I may have hurt and the moments I’ve just gotten wrong,” Brad said.
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2. Miley Cyrus
Miley Cyrus first began sharing her art with the world back in 2014, when she debuted some of her pieces at Art Basel Miami Beach. Her pieces, which often consisted of miscellaneous items fans would throw to her onstage, were also displayed at V magazine’s office gallery and Milk Studios. Models even wore some of her works while walking the runway in Jeremy Scott’s 2015 fashion show.
“I had a bunch of f—ing junk and s—, and so instead of letting it be junk and s—-, I turned it into something that made me happy. To some people, it was just me gluing some things together. To me, it made me not a f—ing pop star dumbass,” Miley said at the time.
Halsey has been passionate about art long before they skyrocketed to fame. They’ve even been able to incorporate their paintings into their musical performances, sometimes even singing while painting on stage. Halsey first put their skills on display while appearing on “Saturday Night Live” in 2019 and just a few months later, they unveiled the cover for their album, “If I Can’t Have Love, I Want Power,” by painting it. They even did some live paintings while performing on the Love and Power Tour.
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4. Pierce Brosnan
Before Pierce Brosnan was an actor, he worked as a graphic designer. Although acting takes up most of his time now, he still has a passion for the arts. In fact, he says he always sets up an art studio when he’s working on location. Throughout life, he says he’s always found comfort in painting, especially when his first wife, Cassandra Harris, was battling cancer.
“It really came to light out of a very hard time in my life. I turned to the world of painting and that gave me a great sense of comfort. Since then it’s matured. I go to the studio each day even if it’s just to clean the brushes or move the paints around,” Pierce told People.
5. Johnny Depp
As a longtime collector of art, Johnny Depp has also tried his hand at creating art himself. In July 2022, he staged his first formal art show where he released 780 prints of his “Friends & Heroes” portraits which featured Bob Dylan, Elizabeth Taylor, Al Pacino and Keith Richards. The collection of paintings, which each sold for $15,040, became the Castle Gallery’s “fasting-selling collection to date” and earned Johnny more than $3.6 million.
“I’ve always used art to express my feelings, and to reflect on those who matter most to me, like my family, friends and people I admire. My paintings surround my life, but I kept them to myself and limited myself. No one should ever limit themselves,” Johnny said in a statement shared by the gallery.
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6. Gugu Mbatha-Raw
Before Gugu Mbatha-Raw pursued acting, she also had a passion for painting. She explained that painting made her “quite introspective” and she ended up loving acting because it “brought me out of myself more.” While her busy schedule hasn’t often allowed her time to paint, during the pandemic she was able to dedicate more time to art, painting portraits of people like George Floyd, Desmond Tutu and Kevin Hart.
“I’ve always loved art. Growing up, I painted a lot of portraits, life drawings, and considered doing art instead of acting for a long time. I ended up choosing acting because I felt like it was more collaborative and would take me outside of myself. The time it takes to paint, the focus and headspace, I didn’t always have when I was expressing myself creatively with acting,” Gugu told W Magazine.
7. Seth Rogen
During the pandemic, Seth Rogen picked up pottery — and actually got really good at it. His wife had originally signed him up for pottery classes years prior and he used his extra time during the pandemic to pursue it further. After sharing his creations online, he decided to design his own ashtray set for his cannabis company, Houseplant, and fans rushed to pick it up.
“Honestly, I was surprised at how much I got from it. It’s meditative. It forces you to be very present,” he told The New York Times of his ceramics hobby.
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8. Gene Simmons
KISS musician Gene Simmons took up painting during the pandemic just as a way to keep his mind occupied but he ended up really loving it. While he says he still doesn’t know what he’s doing, his paintings have earned him a featured spot at a Las Vegas art gallery inside the Venetian. Fans are even paying thousands of dollars to take home one of his works of art.
“I didn’t even know you’re supposed to name the paintings. I never considered myself a painter. I never considered myself much of anything. You’re talking to the least qualified person you’d ever meet…I can tell you that I have a sense of wonder,” he told People.
9. Lucy Liu
Lucy Liu says she’s been creating art since she was a teenager, experimenting with different art forms like sculpture, embroidery, silkscreen, photography, and painting. Her work has even been displayed around the world, earning spots at the National Museum of Singapore and the Napa Valley Museum in Yountville, California.
“I think that art helps evaluate some of the psychology of yourself as a child, and to illuminate some things you may never have understood,” she told Artsy.
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10. Sylvester Stallone
Painting has actually been a large part of Sylvester Stallone’s career as an actor. He says that for some of his characters, he likes to paint how he envisions them before going on to portray them on screen.
“I try to visualize something before I put it into words. Words are very difficult and sometimes unforgiving. So if I could see what Rocky looked like, then perhaps I could write about him,” says Stallone.
11. John Mellencamp
John Mellencamp grew up with ambitions of being an artist and almost went to art school in New York City before he landed a record deal. While John didn’t end up pursuing a career as an artist, he did continue to create pieces of art. His work has been displayed in numerous galleries including The Butler Institute of American Art.
“I was very heavily influenced by German expressionism. Meg [Ryan] likes to tell me, ‘John, your heritage has to be from a small town in Germany called Anger, Germany,'” John joked during an interview with Architectural Digest.
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