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Homeland – Artwork by Nelson Mandela

Homeland, drawing by Nelson MandelaHomeland, drawing by Nelson Mandela
Courtesy of WeTransfer and The House of Mandela Art

Nelson Mandela was a legendary South African anti-apartheid activist, and political leader. Mandela served as President of South Africa from 1994 to 1999. He was the country’s first black president and the first elected in a fully representative democratic election. Mandela served 27 years in prison for his anti-apartheid activities, most of that time was at Robben Island from 1964 – 1982. Nelson Mandela was also an artist. After stepping down as South Africa’s president Mandela began creating drawings, using charcoal and pastels, based on his memories at Robben Island and Qunu – the village where he was born.

In honor of Nelson Mandela’s 100th birthday, WeTransfer and The House of Mandela Art are presenting an online exhibition of his artwork. The exhibition, featuring The Homeland series, is accompanied by an interview with Dr. Makaziwe Mandela, Nelson Mandela’s eldest daughter.

Qunu, Mvezo, drawing by Nelson MandelaQunu, Mvezo, drawing by Nelson Mandela
Courtesy of WeTransfer and The House of Mandela Art

People think my dad was a politician and that Nelson Mandela just fell from the sky — that he doesn’t have a sense of place, a sense of belonging. For me, the Homeland sketches are very important for the world because they give a glimpse of who my father was holistically. How proud he was of who he was and where he came from, even though he came from humble beginnings. That’s what I want the world to see. Not just the politician.
– Dr. Makaziwe Mandela

Table Mountain, drawing by Nelson MandelaTable Mountain, drawing by Nelson Mandela
Courtesy of WeTransfer and The House of Mandela Art

Jim Carrey Makes Political Commentary With His Artwork

No Vacancy, painting by Jim Carrey
“No Vacancy”, painting by Jim Carrey

Actor, comedian Jim Carrey is also an artist. He paints, draws and sculpts. He says that he began sketching as a child, but he didn’t start painting until later in life when he was trying to heal a broken heart. He says that painting frees him.

Jim Carrey discusses his artwork and his motivations in the short documentary, “I Needed Color.”

In an interview with W Magazine, Carrey said:

Well, making art in general is not really a choice. Even acting—all this stuff is the same thing to me. It’s just different modes of creativity. I’ve always drawn and sketched and done cartoons, and I find myself doing that still—I’m still an eight-year-old in my room. It’s a wonderful feeling to make something out of nothing, and it took me over for a long time; it’s another appendage now, and a huge one. There’s not a day that goes by that I’m not covered in paint or something from doing sculptures.

Jim Carrey recently began selling his art and last September he presented an exhibition of his artwork at at the Signature Gallery Group‘s Las Vegas gallery.

Lately Carrey has been using his artwork to make political commentary. He posts images of his paintings to Twitter with his comments, often expressing his displeasure with President Donald Trump and those that work for him.

Chuck D Brings The Noise With Fine Art Exhibition

Public Enemy,Takes a Nation, Artwork by Chuck D
Chuck D – Public Enemy, Takes a Nation

This is a guest post by Ken Davis at Funkatropolis.

Hip-hop legend Chuck D is renowned for his formidable skills on the mic and politically charged tracks; but what many people aren’t aware of is that he’s also a talented visual artist. And those talents will be on full display at his first fine art exhibition, which will be held throughout March at Gallery 30 South in Pasadena, California.

The exhibition, titled Chuck D: Behind The Seen, will feature artwork that the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer created over the years; many of the pieces were created while he was on tour.

Before Chuck D (born Carlton Douglas Ridenhour) was the outspoken frontman of groundbreaking rap group Public Enemy, he was a graphic design major at Long Island’s Adelphi University. He already had a love for hip-hop and would use his graphic arts talents to design promotional flyers for upcoming hip-hop events. He was also the first black student to write and draw a comic strip for the university’s student newspaper, The Delphian.

Additionally, Chuck D co-hosted a hip-hop mix college radio show with fellow DJ Hank Shocklee, who would later become a member of Public Enemy’s famous production team, the Bomb Squad. While hosting the show, he started going by the DJ handle “Chuckie D.” He would often rap over demo tapes that Shocklee had assembled, including a track called “Public Enemy No. 1.”

In addition to Shocklee, Chuck D met musician/rapper William Jonathan Drayton, Jr.—better known by his stage name Flavor Flav—at Adelphi, as well as college radio station program director Bill Stephney (future Bomb Squad member and Def Jam executive). Chuck D and Drayton hit it off and began hanging out and rapping together.

Chuck D formed Public Enemy in 1982 while still a student at Adelphi,and he earned his B.F.A. in graphic design from the university in 1984. (He later received an honorary doctorate from Adelphi in 2013.) Following graduation, he maintained his love for hip-hop and continued to develop Public Enemy. In 1986, the group signed with rising record label Def Jam Recordings. Public Enemy released their debut album, Yo! Bum Rush the Show, on the label in 1987.  The album reverberated throughout the hip-hop community with its strong political themes, powerful raps and the Bomb Squad’s hard-hitting, densely layered production. The album signaled a new direction for hip-hop in which rap artists began addressing social and political issues on their tracks.

The lineup for Public Enemy when they dropped Yo! Bum Rush the Show was Chuck D, Flavor Flav, Terminator X (born Norman Rogers), Professor Griff (born Richard Griffin); and the Bomb Squad—Hank Shocklee, Eric “Vietnam” Sadler, Carl Ryder (Chuck D’s production pseudonym) and Bill Stephney.

Chuck D would often use his graphic arts talents to design Public Enemy-related artwork, including the iconic b-boy caught in a rifle’s crosshairs logo.

The group followed up Yo! Bum Rush the Show with their landmark album It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back (1988),which is considered one of the most influential albums of all time. The platinum-selling collection was a revelation and forever changed the game in hip-hop.

Public Enemy’s hot streak continued in the early ‘90s with the release of two more rap classics: Fear of a Black Planet (1990) and Apocalypse 91… The Enemy Strikes Black (1991). The influential rap outfit released more great albums in the ensuing years and have thrilled audiences around the world with their dynamic live shows.

The group dropped their most recent album, Nothing Is Quick in the Desert, in late June of last year. And in addition to performing with Public Enemy, Chuck D tours with rap-rock supergroup Prophets of Rage.

For more information about Chuck D’s upcoming fine art exhibition, visit Gallery 30 South’s website.

Mischief Makers: Paintings by Joan Baez

Joan Baez Self Portrait Painting
Self Portrait: Painting by Joan Baez

Singer, songwriter, musician, and activist Joan Baez is currently presenting the first solo exhibition of her paintings at Seager Gray Gallery in Mill Valley, California. Baez is probably best known for her American folk music, which often includes songs of protest or social justice. She was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2017. Joan Baez began her social activism in the early 1960s during the Civil Rights Movement when she worked with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

The exhibition, titled “Mischief Makers”, features portraits of “people who have brought about social change through nonviolent action – the risk-taking visionaries”, according to the gallery description. Images of Martin Luther King Jr., John Lewis, Aung San Suu Kyi, Bob Dylan, Malala Yousafzai, and others are included. She also includes a portrait of herself as a young woman.

John Lewis: Painting by Joan Baez
John Lewis: Painting by Joan Baez

A portion of the sales of the paintings will go to Carecen SF, an organization dedicated to assisting Latino and other immigrants, as well as under-resourced families in the San Francisco Bay Area. The exhibition opened September 1, 2017 and continues through October 1, 2017. Contact the gallery for more information.

Visit the Pop Life Art homepage for links to many more celebrity painters.

Artwork by Val Kilmer on Exhibit in Los Angeles

Jim Morrison painting by Val Kilmer
Jim Morrison Painting by Val Kilmer

Actor Val Kilmer is probably best known for the characters and real life icons that he plays on screen and stage, such as Batman, Jim Morrison, Mark Twain and others. However, Val Kilmer is also an artist, and many of the images he paints reflect the characters he plays. Kilmer has an exhibit of his paintings and sculptures opening next weekend at Gabba Gallery in Los Angeles. The exhibit titled, ICON GO ON, I’LL GO ON, is described by the gallery as follows:

In Val Kilmer’s recent paintings his representational choices are not of himself as a subject, but of himself as a character, rendered as an instantly recognizable Icon through the use of stencils. These are not self-portraits (just as the roles he’s drawing from are not self-portraits). They are self-referential only as a stepping-off point to explore these Archetypes. His choice of characters (certainly as a painter and, perhaps as an actor) are Mythic and particularly American ones – The Superhero (Batman), The Cowboy (Doc Holliday), The Rockstar (Jim Morrison), The Writer (Mark Twain –“The First American”), and the Soldier (Iceman from “Top Gun”). The film references in these choices are actually their least important element.

The exhibit opens to the public Friday, July 21, 2016 and it will be open for one weekend only. Contact the gallery for more information. Val Kilmer also currently has a solo exhibition at the Woodward Gallery in New York City open through July 22, 2017.

Kilmer told the Guardian that he was exposed to art through his little brother who he says “was a legitimate genius and he was born with a paintbrush in his hand.” He also says that his original paintings are owned by Ryan Gosling, Robert Downey Jr, Ozzy Osbourne, Sharon Stone, Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, Michael Mann, and Bob Dylan.

In addition to his character portraits, Kilmer also paints abstracts. He posts a daily abstract at his Instagram page.

#DailyAbstract #ValKilmerArt https://valkilmer.gallery/product/vals-living-room-abstract-print-0444/

A post shared by Val Kilmer (@valkilmerofficial) on


Take a look at Val Kilmer’s website to see more of his paintings. He also sells his artwork at his website.

Visit the Pop Life Art home page for links to the artwork of more than 100 actors, singers, and musicians.