Let Me Educate You: An Art Tutor’s Verdict on the Art of Robbie Williams and Other Stars | Art

It’s pop art, but not as you know it. Robbie Williams is the latest in a long line of musicians who have branched out into painting as another way to express themselves, but will it entertain you?

His foray into fine art will go on display at Sotheby’s auction house next month, adding to the growing gallery of pop star art. Over the years, the exhibits have featured the work of musicians such as Paul McCartney, Bob Dylan, and Joni Mitchell.

His works have not always been well received. As early as 1999, art critic Brian Sewell said that he was fed up with the “infuriating tendency among old pop stars to become artists.” Such critical disdain does not seem to have deterred musicians from turning to art. Rolling Stones guitarist Ronnie Wood said he rarely goes a day without painting.

Should they stick to music? We asked A-level art examiner Deborah Philpott, who is also a Superprof art tutor, to rate the works of six musicians, including Williams.

The results were mixed with some only achieving a pass at level A. But the examiner lavishly praised the individuality shown.

Philpott says: “All candidates were able to respond creatively and individually with strong connections to their own environment. All showed a creative response to media and materials, demonstrating significant and thoughtful results.”

He added: “All of the work was personal, some of it more contextually informed and driven by the work of other artists. Each piece reflected the candidates’ own interpretation of an issue close to their hearts.”

robby williams

Beverly, by Robbie Williams and Ed Godrich, estimated at £15,000-20,000.
Beverly, by Robbie Williams and Ed Godrich, is estimated to sell for between £15,000 and £20,000. Photograph: Sotheby’s/PA

A-level grade B or 6

Collaborative piece, which has repetitive images, symbols and marks, recalling works such as Aboriginal paintings and the work of American artist Jackson Pollock. The image reflects an interest in pop art and the more recent work of street artists such as Banksy. Interesting use of media and imagery that creates a hypnotic result that responds to the environment and sounds that were created in the studio.

Paul McCartney

Bowie vomiting by Paul McCartney
Bowie Vomiting by Paul McCartney

A-level grade C or 4/5

Expressive and strong use of color and branding, with a personal, emotional and intuitive response to your subject. Experimental use of media with a limited palette and a playful range of branding.

Kurt Cobain

Kurt Cobain Painting
Untitled Kurt Cobain painting

A-level grade D or 3

Loose interpretation of scale and form yet captures a vivid imagination with a strong sense of colour, line and tone. Some consideration for proportion and compositional arrangement, producing an emotional response to a haunting image.

Joni Mitchell

Shocked Still Life by Joni Mitchell
Shocked Still Life by Joni Mitchell

A-level grade B or 6

Vibrant and energetic use of color and branding, interpreting the conventions of still life and portraiture, creating an exciting composition with a riot of shapes and textures. Lively combination of figurative and abstract qualities with nods to post-impressionism.

Chrissie Hynde

Self Portrait, Chrissie Hynde.
Self Portrait by Chrissie Hynde

A-level grade A or 7/8

Shows a strong understanding of the conventions of early 20th century art. Vivid use of color with bold use of shapes and abstract forms. Expressive use of brush strokes with skillful use of proportion and composition.

ronnie wood

Stray Cat Blues by Ronnie Wood
Stray Cat Blues by Ronnie Wood

At grade B or 6 level

Great energy in the use of media and the creation of brands. Good use of tone, understanding of proportion and sense of movement. Demonstrates proficient drawing skill and the ability to capture mood and movement in an event scene.

Leave a Comment