The blog of author Dennis Cooper

They also paint. *

* (restored)

Pop Life Art: Celebrity Artists

Itty Bitty Art by Celebrities

Celebrity art @ eBay

Célébrités Galleries

Julien’s Auctions

Celebrity Art Book List



‘When I’m painting the picture, I’m really painting a picture. I may have a flat-footed technique, or something like that, but still, to me, the thrill, or the meat of the thing, is the actual painting. I don’t get any thrill out of laying it out.’

Frank Sinatra



‘when i look at my visual work it’s easy for me to see their creator as a confused, inconsistent hobbyist or, at worst, a painter and decorator who owns a few art books.’

Graham Coxon



‘You can’t see my work in person unless you come to my house.’

Juliana Hatfield



‘I used to paint, but that was years ago.’

Arnold Schoenberg



‘With painting I will come onto something. It could take months and go – oh shit! That is how you do that! Probably if I had studied it would have been in lesson one.’

John Lurie



‘I have a very specific style that I’m going for’

Issei Sagawa



‘I’m really just thinking about the painting at the moment. I’m too distracted by art to seriously think about music at the moment.’

Paul Simonon



‘What I love, and this sketch was done in August, is the wonderful shadows. They, alone, made my painting finger itch, so I sat out in a field on three consecutive days at exactly the same time of day, being examined by some rather inquisitive Highland cows.’

Prince Charles



‘I come from painting. I painted until I was 30, but I burned almost all of them. As a painter, I would have made a masterpiece.’

Serge Gainsbourg



‘I’ve stopped using the Internet, basically. I text, but I’ve whittled that down. I’m trying to just revert to a landline. I’m painting things rather taking their photographs. I don’t want to live in computer time. The Internet doesn’t care if we’ve had enough.’




‘The watercolor has affinities with the sonnet, or the haiku, rather than the jeremiad. It captures the flux and essence, the flavor and perfume, rather than the substance. Ambience, that is what the watercolor renders par excellence.’

Henry Miller



‘It takes my breath away to gaze into that chaos and fragmentation of imagery and realize that within that frame lies the universe of the soul and imagination.’

Tina Louise



‘Even when I was a little kid, I could draw a picture of Mickey Mouse that looked perfect.’

Kurt Cobain



‘If there were no paintings in the world, mine would be very important.’

Leonard Cohen



‘The correlation between acting and painting is limited, but still useful. The art of acting is first observing people, and then acting out that observation. But when you are watching, for example, an old man and see how his hand is trembling, that is something you can’t draw. But you can draw his posture.’

Armin Mueller-Stahl




Jason Newsted



‘My art teacher Phillip, who did the Grateful Dead weird skeleton playing backwards, violin with the red sunglasses, very Jimi Hendrix, very strange, he said, ‘you cannot make a mistake in art, so even if you think you’ve made the worst mistake in the world’ — like a big hole in the paper — ‘you just sit down, take a deep breath, and realize that you cannot make a mistake, even if you cannot fix what happened, you can tell everybody that it’s exactly what you wanted.’

Stevie Nicks



‘My drawings, paintings and carvings attempt to reflect my deep love for the environment and view of life that I was so fortunate to have grown up with.’

Don S. Davis



‘I … yeah, have started … painting.’

Dee Dee Ramone



‘I’m not afraid of mistakes, there aren’t any.’

Miles Davis



‘I wear my Picasso hat and Matisse shorts and my Arnold Schwarzenegger tank top and I paint.’

Tony Curtis



‘At this time in my evolution, painting is the way “it” wants to take shape. I create with the help of that massive system of energy that permeates everything and allows it to be distributed for free. As a conduit, I am occasionally quite clear – but as a beginner, the results can be technically raw.’

Grace Slick



‘I study at the Art Students League of New York and with private instructors.’

Tony Bennett



‘I felt I really wanted to back off from music completely and just work within the visual arts in some way. I started painting quite passionately at that time.’

David Bowie



‘It wasn’t until I was about 23 that I could stand to look at what I’d painted. But my worst rejections come from myself. I find that if I like a painting well enough to hang it on the wall, I really don’t care what people think.’

Eve Plumb



‘In order to be totally spontaneous, you can’t be too obsessed with accuracy, but if you’re inaccurate in a drawing or painting, it will look fake, and when you act, it will sound fake. You have to find miraculously some proper balance between the two, but there’s no formula.’

Peter Falk



‘What I love to do is paint people’s faces, y’know, their eyes. Because you want to find the emotion, see what’s going on behind their eyes.’

Johnny Depp



‘My idea of paradise is that period just before the sun rises and I’m at home painting or writing songs and everything is flowing. I pray that the sun won’t rise so I can paint and write for ever. That’s my ideal time.’

Pete Doherty



‘It is the same thing whether I’m painting or acting. The common denominator is in the movement. I don’t dance but I paint in the air. Or I don’t paint, but I dance on the paper.’

Juliette Binoche



‘I was definitely first interested in art. I always wanted to be an artist, since I was like five or something. I was really into Michelangelo. I wanted to be a sculptor. I used to make things out of clay. So, I guess boys is sort of…even though I think he was gay. I don’t know.’

Kim Gordon



‘Looking at my paintings, you probably wouldn’t think they were by a film director. But you might guess that they were by, well, a European intellectual – someone sensitive, serious and at odds with the world around him. At odds, in fact, with our world.’

Pier Paolo Pasolini



‘I think about what I’m going to paint when I’m in bed — I’m going to paint a canvas bright red, and I don’t know what I’m going to put on it. (Laughs) Well, but you see, that’s the way you get started. I’ve been having such great luck with painting canvases solid black, and then I put one pink tulip on that black canvas, and they sell like hotcakes.’

Phyllis Diller



‘If you have a one-hour lunch break during shooting… you know it is better to have a nap if your body is very tired but in my case, I spent my time painting. If I do so, my head can rest better.’

Viggo Mortensen



‘My first painting was a sketch of myself, and I called it When I Became Human I Had to Die’.

Bruno Schleinstein


‘This is the first time I’ve seen the painting upright. Physically, it was a tremendous challenge working on sections of it while hanging from scaffolding and with all the emotional ups and downs.’

Jim Carrey



‘People expect me to paint psychedelic images of fools on hills, paperback writers and bands on the run and so on. What I actually like to paint are guys with boners.’

Paul McCartney



‘I like to paint the human condition, and the human condition is not smiles and happy people.’

John Mellencamp



‘I stopped painting in 1990 at the peak of my success just to deny people my beautiful paintings, and I did it out of spite.’

Vincent Gallo



‘There are those who claim to be psychiatrists and analyze my paintings from that perspective, while others are unimpressed with the painting by itself.’

Marilyn Manson


‘I hope to pursue a career in digital art/animation, with a focus on texture and matte painting. To that end, I have studied computer science alongside my artistic training as to become well-versed in both the programming and art aspects of computer graphics.’

Lucy Liu



‘I am not a Christian artist, I am an artist.’

Johnny Cash



‘I have a whole house which is just for her arts and crafts. I bought the next door neighbor’s house. I go and spend all day down there.’

Rosie O’Donnell



‘I love to paint and draw-pencil, ink pen-I love art. When I go on tour and visit museums in Holland, Germany or England-you know those huge paintings?-I’m just amazed. You don’t think a painter could do something like that.’

Michael Jackson



‘Um, I painted the cast of “Seinfeld” in the nude?’

Macaulay Culkin



‘I guess I would say my paintings are unstoppable and true to the shit.’

George Clinton



‘I started with photographs, then I started thinking that photographs didn’t really go anywhere — they’re just photographs.’

Neil Young



‘I just finished another WARHOL… Can’t wait for the show!’

Chris Brown



‘Yeah, I’m serious about painting. What kinda … ? Fuck off!’

Steven Tyler



p.s. Hey. ** CAUTIVOS, Thanks. Oh, the idea of a ‘best’ film is so ridiculous, but I thought it was exciting that ‘Dielman’ got the top slot. That provoked people, which is good. I think it’s a great film. I recommend it. ** tomk, Hi, Tom. A welcoming 2023 to you too. Yeah, I thought of you being in Peru while reading about the chaos there. Glad you made it in and out whole. Well, I would hope so about Daitch, but, yes, yay! Dude, I so know the jet lag hell. I hope your hours and the UK’s sync up ASAP. Your brain’s not completely gone, just so you know. ** Bill, Cool. It’s possible I had the zoomba thing here before. Maybe in the ‘Cocaine’ post? Happy to have added some successfully itchy content to trump your period in the dark. ** Misanthrope, Like I said, I know zip, but I think the Rams left LA for quite a while or something? I remember reading all this stuff about how weird it was that LA didn’t have a football team. Anyway, whatev’. I hope your work jumped into your doability, whatever that means. ** Nick., Hey, N! I think determining you’ll do things and having ideas in mind is probably all you need. Well, unresolved crushes do have a way of sort dying out eventually, which can be quite the saving grace. Mm, I can’t reminder George’s snake’s name. Damn, it’s on the veritable tip of my tongue, but it won’t materialise. Resting in the dark sounds really nice. Envy. Mine? Bunch of stuff: Met with one of our film’s producers, met with this amazing photographer who’s going to be our ‘set photographer’, met on Zoom with our production designer, and worked on some fiction in between. Kind of the opposite of resting in the dark. Hence my envy. Dream superpower … mm, at the moment I would choose the really boring, practical superpower of being able to snap my fingers and thusly raise the rest of the money we need to make our film. (My brain and life are really locked down by that project). Overall, … maybe I’d like to be CureMan who could cure anyone of anything bad, including death. What about you? Tell me, and then let’s get a Marvel franchise going or something. No, I don’t think I’ve had any paranormal intervention in myself that I can remember. Let me think … no, I don’t think so. Have you felt clairvoyant at any point? ** Dominik, Hi!!! Exactly re: ‘DR’. I grew to like ‘Try’. Grove Press thought ‘Evol’ was too un-commercial. I think at that point they still thought I could have some kind of crossover into the mainstream or something. They did it again with ‘Guide’, which I wanted to call ‘Nurse’. But now I think ‘Guide’ is better. I just had to look up Fiverr. I’d never heard of it before. Huh, interesting. I like the idea of ‘gay advice’, ha ha. It’s so mysterious. Love creating a spare room in your apartment whereupon your favorite member of your favorite band asks you if they can use it as their painting studio, G. ** Minet, Hi, Minet! Good to see you! I’m doing okay, busy like it sounds like you’ve been too. Oh, yeah, the AI thing. I know a few really talented artists who are experimenting with it excitingly. What you’re doing does sound amazing. Your instagram is public? I’ll try. Every time I try to go instagram it throws me out. Cool. I’ll go look. And/or you could send the to me: Thank you! You sound really inspired, that’s awesome. And you using the words Trecartin and Efteling make me as excited as I could be. Great! Hugs, etc. right back to you. ** Steve Erickson, Yes. Everyone, Bertolucci’s sublime film ‘The Conformist’ has been restored and re-released, and Mr. Erickson has some thoughts about that, which I recommend you read. Here. I’m not sure if ‘Close’ is playing here. I think I will avoid it, if so. ** Jeff J, Hi, Jeff. Surprising that some press hasn’t reissued her books. Surely that’s in the offing. Yeah, agreed that the ending of ‘EO’ is a big let down, but I liked the rest enough to shoot the overall some slack. I think I’m going to LA the weekend of the 14th. I’ll lock that down in the next day or so. The prep is moving forward and rather exhausting, but that’s the deal. The funding aspect remains immensely stressful and scary, but we have to get there, and we will. Look forward to Part 2. Everyone, recently I hooked you up with part 1 of a conversation between the superb writers Jeff Jackson and Meghan Lamb re: their lives as both writers and songwriters. Here’s part 2. Eat it up. ** Robert, Glad you liked Rafman. There’ll be a bunch of his stuff up here tomorrow. I’m good, just a little too busy right now, but for good reasons, thanks. Experimental writers who are women have been historically overlooked and hard to suss out, so, no, it’s any fault of yours, no worries. There are a lot amazing ones. Off the immediate top of my head, Renee Gladman, Nathalie Sarraute, Marguerite Duras, Ann Quin, Christine Brooke-Rose, … I could go on, but there are some to start. ** Nick Hudson, Thanks, pal. Gdańsk! Amazing you get to be in these fabled places, as downsided as the visit may be. The last film I watched in 202 was the King Crimson documentary. The first film I saw in 2023 was ‘Tar’, which I did not like. Big up, and safe travels home. ** John Newton, Hi, John. Sorry, I’m very behind on email at the moment. I think I wrote ‘The School Wimp’ when I was teenager, and I don’t remember at all who it was about, or if it was about a real person. Mm, no, I think I first read Mallard in my 20s, if I remember. I met Hannah Weiner extremely briefly at a reading, but it was just a hello. I still have the ‘More’ soundtrack on vinyl somewhere. ‘Jakob von Gunten’: very nice! ** malcolm, Hi, pal. I totally get and could easily (if inaccurately) imagine that reverie you went through. Yum. And color me weird, but I immediately wanted to stand hypnotised and bemused (possible combination?) over your couch as you were in that repetition mode. Thank you for the EP. I’ll go get it. Yeep! Happiest day, I hope. ** Sarah, Hi, Sarah! Yeah, I think I’m kind of a nice guy, it’s weird. This blog is on GoDaddy, and I’ll remember to be very careful with them, yikes! All the more reason for you and your collaborators to start that much needed site. There are some quite good lit/art sites/mags out there that are very non-institutionalised, if you get the jones to try again. I could name names. Once when I was a teen I thought I saw a ghost in my parents’ kitchen, but, in retrospect, I think I was just really stoned and having eyes-related trippiness. Oh, and one time about 15 years or so ago I was sitting in my mom’s house, and this young guy who had been staying in her pool house killed himself, and there was a briefcase of his papers and stuff leaning against a wall, and I was looking at it and thinking how weird./sad it was that he killed himself, and the briefcase just kind of flew up in the air and fell over. It was one of the weirdest, most inexplicable things ever. So maybe that counts? If that was a ghost, it was really confusing, so I’m not sure if I can recommend an encounter, ha ha. How was your today? ** ShadeoutMapes:3, Hi! Ah, gotcha, you’re out of school for the duration. That really does sound extremely unfairly drastic. But, yeah, I guess use it to make stuff as much as you can. When I lived in Amsterdam in the mid-80s, I was really isolated, but I used that to write my first novel ‘Closer’, so it can be boon and painful the same time. Ha ha, I get it, about your theater teacher. You guys can’t meet up for a coffee or something? Gosh, I don’t remember what camera I would have used to take those pix of George. It could have been one of these really cheap cameras they used to sell, I think mostly for kids, called a Brownie camera? I think a lot of that quality you mentioned just came from how the photos aged really. You weren’t too lengthy, just so you know. I hope your day today is really, really not dull. ** Right. I was talking on here with Tosh Berman, and he mentioned actors who make art on the side, and that reminded me of this goofy old post I made about celebrities who are also painters, and I decided to restore it for better or worse. You decide. See you tomorrow.



    Hi Dennis. Curious artistic proposal and also extensive. How do you manage to post so many images in the same post? It must be very complicated but it is worth taking a look at them. Thanks to the fact that I have a relatively new computer, I can access the content without problems, but it would make a mess with my blog, despite the fact that I haven’t posted any post since 2007. Well, everything is fine here. Not too cold, not too hot. Tomorrow all kinds of gifts await the smallest of the house, a tradition that I have already overlooked. I have on my nightstand a copy of ”Period” in English that I don’t quite understand in its original format, I found it in a discount bookstore and I can’t part with it anymore. The image of a boy twice accompanies me and suggests many things to me. I hope to receive a gift under the tree tomorrow, even if it is more of a Santa Claus decoration. Soon we will remove all the decorations and the bright lights. A hug from Spain.


      Alex James is already older? Do you still like it?

  2. Jack Skelley

    Dennis — Tina Louise + Eve Plumb = Kim Gordon

  3. Minet

    Good post. John Mellencamp’s painting look the coolest to me. Manson’s aren’t so bad either but he’s so cringe overall.
    That’s a real shame that Instagram won’t let you in, you’d make that place way less lame lol
    Just sent you an e-mail with the AI stuff, sweet little Dropbox link in it so you can look, download, whatever you feel like!
    Hope you like it ^^

    • Jack Skelley

      Good stuff, Minet ! Saw it on IG… -Jack

  4. Dominik


    This is lovely. I only knew about Kurt Cobain (whose art I really like), Marilyn Manson, and Pete Doherty. And the photos of the artists themselves are so good too! Thank you!

    I was afraid it’d had something to do with your original titles not being “mainstream” enough – Grove Press’ rejection of them, I mean. And I get that a publisher’s goal is to sell books, but it’s still fucked.

    Yeah, when I started out as a freelancer, I looked up a bunch of these sites – Fiverr, Upwork, etc. – but I didn’t like them, so the only thing I came away with was the knowledge of that person offering “gay advice” – whatever it means – haha.

    I’d have to go really sentimental and let Gerard Way use my spare room because I know he’s into drawing comic books – so maybe he’s got some secret painting gig going on as well. Thank you, love! Love visiting the alternate universe in which “Try” is called “Evol” and “Guide” is called “Nurse,” Od.

  5. scunnard

    Hi Dennis, I actually always think this sort of stuff is interesting. With a lot you can sort of sense how their brain works and others is a bit obvious from what they normally do as translates or side steps in an appealing way but also surprising. There is also a pretty pronounced creepy bent to a lot of them which of course I appreciate. heh

  6. Tosh Berman

    The perfect blog for me! The way you laid out the art first and their names after that are wonderful. Some of the artwork is really surprising, and some I predicted, but all wonderful.

  7. alex

    Hi Dennis,
    Fascinating post and I have to admit a number of them left me scratching my head once I scrolled down to see who was behind the paintings. Some of them I really love (I’m assuming that’s a self-portrait of Viggo? the softness of it is really something, especially in contrast to the textures of the ones above it. Pasolini’s ones were lovely too). Others are just not for me (I wouldn’t look twice at those Neil Young drawings). I also appreciated that Miles Davis quote, that’s an approach to mistakes I’d like to better practice.

    Now I’m curious, have you ever dabbled in painting or visual art? I mean, besides film which I guess counts as visual and audio etc. I started practicing printmaking a couple years ago which I like cause there are so many steps involved. I get to try my hand at drawing, carving, inking. It’s slow and detail oriented, kinda like writing, but much more physical.

    It’s mildly less grey here today which I’m hoping will give me the energy to write in the afternoon once I’m done work. Hope the sun’s shining where you are.

  8. Steve Erickson

    Manson’s paintings are better than his music (not saying much, of course)!

    Let’s feed all these images into an AI and see what it spits out when asked to make a “celebrity painting.”

  9. Nightcrawler

    Wow, I had no idea Pasolini was a painter too. Truly an all-around artist! It totally makes sense though with all the painting images in his films.

  10. Misanthrope

    Dennis, Yep. The Rams went to St. Louis for a while and then came back. The Chargers left San Diego and are now in LA. And the Raiders left Oakland for Las Vegas. So much more than you ever wanted to know, hahaha.

    Hmm, I don’t also paint but I can draw some really (unintentionally) fucked up faces. 😀 I used to like to draw spirals and shit too. Just over and over. I don’t know what that means.

    The woman I was supposed to work with bailed on me. I just hope she doesn’t want to do that massive thing on a Friday, though. Eep.

    Getting ready to start something new of my own. 😀

  11. Nick.

    Hi!loved so many of these artists works so thank you for showing! I can definitely say I have so really enjoyed learning about someone who also did and materialized it! Superpowers I really like your picks nice practical powers and I’d probably go for a bit of a Dr. Manhattan thing but I’d just wanna be a bit nicer! So I think we’d actually be pretty good team up! I’m actually envious of you too! That all sounds so fun and stressful so I hope you do get some rest soon! Hope your well and oh new question. Who’s a favorite teacher not just academic either of yours tell me about them If you want.

  12. Robert

    ‘People expect me to paint psychedelic images of fools on hills, paperback writers and bands on the run and so on. What I actually like to paint are guys with boners.’

    I had a hard time making out the boners in there… the Macaulay Culkin ones are funny. And Arnold Schoenberg’s are pretty much what I expected, haha, thank god I didn’t have to live through postwar Austria. Although I’ve definitely seen that first one of his somewhere.

  13. h now j

    A lovely post, Dennis. Arnold Schoenberg’s paintings are my favorite. Really interesting to think of them in tune with his music. Do you paint at all? I paint a bit, but I’m not a celebrity.

    Happy birthday to you, Dennis, next Tuesday. Despite your busy schedule to prep filming, I hope you can celebrate the day. I will get a piece of vegan cake to celebrate your B-day here, too. (Have I told you I’m almost vegan now? I still eat honey, but I can’t even enjoy dairy ice cream which I used to love. My eating has become simpler, quite repetitive on a few items, so it’s been good to focus on other things. Recently, I saw the film EO two times, and eating animals has become impossible to me)

  14. ShadeoutMapes:3

    (Original comment didn’t send so I’m frustratingly speed-running rewriting this, might sounds rushed.)

    right where I’m sitting, I’m looking right at a little wind-up brownie camera on top of my bookshelf. Thats so amazing and ironically funny because I remember becoming consumed by comparing the quality with other older photos so I could find out what type of camera it was, unbeknownst to me, I had the same type sitting dormant in my room😠! Yeah, maybe it is just how the photo aged that made it look really fascinating to me, it sort of reminds me of this NMH song called Gardenhead or something idk but … it’s a good photo though, he’s very photogenic and his style is swag. (Though that’s the only photo I’ve seen but I’m sure it holds true) Sadly, I’ve yet to utilize the camera I have, as the film I need is hard to come by. I got it at a yard sale for 20$ and it came with the crumbling manual as well as a roll of film but that smelled like milk and didn’t work. I love collecting old cameras, well sort of, my collection is still rather small. I had this old over the shoulder Panasonic camcorder from 1986 but my cat knocked it over and the handle broke, so I have to fix that. I’m not sure if they still make film for that specific camera type but maybe I can find a substitute or something because I would love to film something with it.

    There’s something so beautiful and delicate about film that I think can capture vulnerability like a snow globe, pulling you into one’s brutal yet sensitive mind until you have completely absorbed them, understanding every emotion, but then the globe violently shakes, and their composures break into undetermined fragments, leaving you bewildered as the character you once thought you knew in the span of 90 minutes becomes this distorted fantasy with no resemblance to what that was…. Or at least that’s how I’d like to make a film Haha!

    What is your favorite kind of movies? cool post btw, I love the paintings created by the famous Japanese cannibal Issei Sagawa, interesting, didn’t know he did art.

    (Oh, also I don’t drink coffee in public. Too awkward.)

    (Btw I actually really enjoy writing here when my day is over, it’s almost like a daily writing prompt or something haha anyways goodnight!)

    • ShadeoutMapes:3

      shoot I wrote a paragraph again, oops 😬

  15. Sarah

    Like a whole briefcase? Scary. I guess if that’s how ghosts are, you’re right, I would probably hate that, but I guess you can’t choose how you’re haunted either. I think in some way if I never had anything definitively inexplicable happen to me, in a way beyond the normal way of how interacting with anyone or walking down the street is inexplicable, I would be a bit disappointed. I’ve definitely had a fair amount of times where I’ve been high and assumed that something that happened was a ghost when it was really just like the wind or an animal or something like this. Feels like a waste of emotions when I think about it, even though emotions don’t come in short supply. My day was alright, although absolutely nothing happened so my mind is blank. Hope yours was good. I liked the post today. I got a bit obsessed with Michael Jackson last year but I had never seen the drawings in your post before, just some others that looked comically scary. He did some art therapy program and all of the drawings from that are pretty interesting, here’s a link if you haven’t seen

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