How Johnny Depp made £4.5M from limited edition prints of late stars
Johnny Depp’s £4.5m daubings: How Pirates of the Caribbean actor, 59, made a fortune in just a few days by selling his limited edition prints of late stars – including Bob Marley and Heath Ledger – for £4,500 a pop
His next artistic venture will find him directing a film about the life of penniless Italian painter and sculptor Modigliani.
But yesterday it emerged that Johnny Depp’s own career as an artist is proving much more lucrative – after he sold more than £4.5million of paintings in only a few days last week.
A series of limited edition prints of reggae star Bob Marley, writer Hunter S Thompson and actors Heath Ledger and River Phoenix went up for sale through the Castle Fine Art Gallery, in London’s Covent Garden, last Monday.
Yesterday a spokesman said the bold and brightly coloured prints, which cost £4,500 each, or £17,500 for all four, had nearly sold out in five days. ‘On Friday they had virtually all gone, there were just a handful of the River Phoenix prints left,’ he said. ‘I expect they will have sold out as well by now.’
It is the second exhibition in Depp’s ‘Friends and Heroes’ collection to go on sale in the UK. The first, which featured folk legend Bob Dylan, Rolling Stone Keith Richards, actress Elizabeth Taylor and actor Al Pacino, also sold out within hours last July.
Artist: Johnny Depp at work with his paints
Success: The Pirates of the Caribbean star signing one of his works
It means that, in the past seven months alone, Depp has netted more than £8million from his art. Yesterday the Pirates of the Caribbean star, 59, told the Mail he was ‘really touched’ that people were interested in work he did ‘outside of his day job’.
He said he was spending more time in Europe and the UK, and ‘loved’ London, which he described as a ‘very creative environment.’
‘For many years, I really held myself strictly to just the day job of the film business, even though I’ve always needed to escape into a blank piece of paper, whether it be writing, drawing or painting a blank canvas,’ he said. ‘Tackling something for the first time with no idea of what’s about to commence and what it will come out to be is deeply fulfilling.
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‘For people to actually see this stuff now for the first time, to react the way that they have, so positively, to whatever I have made is very moving.’
It is not the only time Depp has pursued other creative outlets. In fact, he has previously said music is his first love. He performed with his own band and with his friend, guitar legend Jeff Beck, who died in January. They released a record, called 18, together last July.
Depp described the subjects of his paintings as ‘legends’ with Phoenix and Ledger making their mark despite not having ‘enough time on this earth.’ The sale comes after Depp’s high-profile US court case against his ex-wife Amber Heard last year.
A jury found an article she wrote about her experiences as a survivor of domestic abuse to be defamatory and awarded Depp £12million in damages.
Ms Heard later won one of three counter-claims, successfully arguing Depp’s press agent defamed her and she was handed £1.5million compensation.
It followed Depp’s UK libel case against the Sun newspaper in November 2020, which he lost, over an article that called him a ‘wife beater’. The judge said the newspaper proved what was written to be ‘substantially true’.
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