Credit: Castle Fine Art

Johnny Depp, despite his controversial court case, maybe even because of it, has just become a multi-million dollar selling artist. His first collection, “Friends & Heroes,” just sold for a whopping $3.6 million (~$5.1 million AUD) at the UK gallery, Castle Fine Art, in just a matter of hours. Demand was so high the gallery’s website crashed 20 minutes into the sale.

The collection included 780 pop-art style artworks. These artworks depict, as the title would suggest, Depp’s friends and people who have inspired him. These included Bob Dylan, “whose creative influence on the artist [Depp] is seen in his vivid and immortal portrayal by Johnny;” Keith Richards, a “dear friend, who inspired the mannerisms of the infamous Jack Sparrow.” Also included are Elizabeth Taylor and Al Pacino.

Individual paintings were sold for $3,972 (~$5,713 AUD) whilst a package of four sold for $15,040 (~$21,636 AUD).

The gallery said that “This world-first release proved to be our fastest-selling collection to date, with all titles selling out in just hours.”

Painting is, and has been, a large part of Depp’s life, “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.”

He added, “My paintings surround my life, but I kept them to myself and limited myself. No one should ever limit themselves.”

It’s easy to say that the sales have been driven by Depp’s celebrity status more than their quality. There is an argument to be made there, but given the subjectivity of artistic expression, it doesn’t hold much water. The works are clearly well done, not an amateur’s efforts. Depp cannot be classed with the masters of the medium, he isn’t trying to reach those heights. Given how long his paintings have remained private, these works can be considered a hobby project, albeit a well-done hobby project.

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