Amid Last Year’s Controversies, Johnny Depp Sold $3.5 Million in Art Prints. Now He Has a New Series of Portraits… and They Are Quite Bad


With life in court behind him, Johnny Depp is again trying his hand at art.

A portfolio of four of the actor-artist’s silk-screen prints, all portraits of fellow performers, including Heath Ledger, Bob Marley, River Phoenix, and Hunter S. Thompson, are for sale now at Castle Fine Art in London.

Of those subjects, only Thompson lived beyond the age of 36. Depp starred in a movie adaption of the gonzo author’s 1971 novel, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, in 1998.

“They didn’t have enough time on this earth. But [in] the time that they did have, they certainly planted their individuality, their uniqueness, their world, their heart, their emotions, their sense of humor,” Depp said in a video produced by Castle Fine Art. “They said a lot in their short lives.” 

“Friends & Heroes II” is the name of the collection, which is available for £17,500 ($21,000). The gallery previously offered the four prints for individual sale, each in an edition of 195 and priced at £3,750 ($4,400) a pop, but those are now sold out. 

“Each image is an intimate reflection of their character in Johnny’s eyes; a portrayal of how they have revealed themselves to him,” reads a description of the series on Castle Fine Art’s website. “Working from photographic references, each image has been stripped back to a simpler and iconic portrayal of the subject, which Johnny has then developed and energized with his characteristic freehand flourishes.” 

The group of prints follows another portfolio by Depp, the original “Friends & Heroes” collection, which was released by the gallery last year. It included portraits of Bob Dylan, Al Pacino, Keith Richards, and Elizabeth Taylor, all of which sold out in hours. Demand caused the gallery’s website to crash.

“I didn’t believe it, it didn’t make sense to me,” Depp explained in the video. “I’m obviously really touched that people wanted to look a little further outside of my day job as it were, investigating some of the imagery that interests me.”

The BBC reported that the actor made nearly £3 million ($3.5 million) on the initial “Friends & Heroes” sale, which happened to come less than two months after the conclusion of his lengthy and much-publicized legal battle with his ex-wife, actor Amber Heard.

Depp sued Heard for defamation after she wrote a 2018 Washington Post op-ed alleging that he had abused her. Depp won the case and was awarded $15 million in damages. Heard subsequently filed three counter-claims, and won one, taking home $2 million. Both actors’ public reputations suffered throughout the cases. 

Perhaps because of that, Depp’s next big move will involve him stepping behind the camera for the first time in 25 years. He’s planning to direct a biopic of Italian artist Amedeo Modigliani, with Pacino attached as a producer.


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