10 Celebrities You Didn’t Know Were Painters

When you grow up dreaming of being famous, it’s hard to know exactly what you will become famous for. I assume I will become famous for my writing abilities, but I could just as well make it for my music (I probably won’t), or accidentally become a meme. For many famous people, they do plenty of things between going to school and landing in magazines, only that their more successful achievements have landed them fame. But did you know that these ten people were also painters? Check out the list below:


“Endless Highway” by Bob Dylan. 2015-2016


Bob Dylan

Dylan’s crude, Hockney-lite drawings hit you with the same poetic simplicity of his songs, taking an America we all recognise and filtering it through his dreamlike vision. His work featured at Halcyon Gallery last year, but don’t expect a Turner prize to be added to his Nobel any time soon.

Kim Gordon

As well as dismantling the patriarchy as part of iconic grunge rock group Sonic Youth, Kim Gordon went on to have a successful career as a visual artist and curator. Her striking work has been featured at White Columns and the Gagosian Gallery.


“Finding Rocky” by Sylvester Stallone. 1975.

Sylvester Stallone

Stallone’s acting ability was reappraised last year with an Academy Award nomination for playing Rocky a seventh time. But did you know his painting predated his big breakout? “Finding Rocky” exemplifies his art as being a key factor in how he conceives his characters.

Marilyn Monroe

Marilyn Monroe originally painted a rose for John F. Kennedy’s birthday in 1962, but ending up not giving it to him. No problem for her however, as she later inscribed it as a birthday present to herself. It fetched for $78,000 in 2005.


“But Not On Earth!” by Henry Miller. Insomnia Series #5 of 12, 1965-6

Henry Miller

Known for bringing graphic sex into literature and his books being banned until the 60s, the iconoclast Henry Miller was also fond of watercolour compositions. Unsurprisingly, he liked painting naked women the most.

Winston Churchill

In addition to defeating the Nazis, winning the Nobel Prize for Literature, and warning everyone about the Soviet Union, Winston Churchill also took the time to paint over 500 different subjects, including his Chartwell home, Jerusalem and The French Riviera. What didn’t this guy do?


Putin by George W. Bush. 2014.

George Bush

As well as dragging the world into an illegal war and overseeing the greatest financial crash since 1929, George Bush is also known for his paintings. With motifs including dogs and world leaders, his work has been described as having “a considerable amount of feeling, even charm” despite being childlike in composition.

Jemima Kirke

When she’s not busy being the English one in Girls and promoting body hair positivity, Jemima Kirke is making waves for her Pierre Bonnard-inspired paintings. One of the more respected painters in this list, her work has appeared at the Fouladi Projects and the Sargent’s Daughters.


“Untitled” by Frank Sinatra. 1950.

Frank Sinatra

He may have achieved fame for his immense singing ability and excellent yet sadly curtailed acting career, but Frank Sinatra used to paint too! Starting off conventionally, such as the dog portrait (above) that he sent to woo Eva Gardner, his work in the 90s actually saw Ol’ Blue Eyes move towards abstract expressionism.


Swizz Beatz

When the famed hip-hop producer, known for collaborations with Jay-Z and wife Alicia Keys, isn’t in the studio, he can be found collecting and painting art. Always the gent, the profit he makes from his artworks go directly to charity.


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