Let Me Educate You: An Art Guide’s Judgment on Art by Robbie Williams and Other Stars | Art

It’s pop art, but not as you know it. Robbie Williams is the latest in a long line of musicians who have branched out into painting as another way of expressing themselves, but will it entertain you?

His art promotion will be on display at auction house Sotheby’s next month, adding to the growing gallery of pop star art. Over the years, exhibitions have featured works by musicians, including Paul McCartney, Bob Dylan and Joni Mitchell.

Their works have not always been well received. As long ago as in 1999, art critic Brian Sewell said he was tired of the “furious tendency among applauded old pop stars to become artists”. Such a critical mockery does not seem to have deterred musicians from turning to art. Rolling Stones guitarist Ronnie Wood said a day goes by without painting.

Should they stick to the music? We asked A-level art examiner Deborah Philpott, who is also a Superprof art teacher, to judge works by six musicians, including Williams.

The results were mixed with some who only scratched one passed at A level. But the examiner generously praised the individuality on display.

Philpott says, “All of the candidates were able to respond in a creative and individual way with strong connections to their own environment. They all showed a creative response to media and materials that showed meaningful and thoughtful results.”

She added: “All the work was personal, some were more contextually informed and driven by the work of other artists. Each piece reflected the candidates’ own interpretation of the subject that is close to their heart.”

Robbie Williams

Beverly, by Robbie Williams and Ed Godrich estimated £ 15,000-20,000.
Beverly, by Robbie Williams and Ed Godrich, is estimated to sell for £ 15,000- £ 20,000. Photo: Sotheby’s / PA

A-level class B or 6

Collaborative work, which has repeated images, symbols and branding, reminiscent of works such as Aboriginal paintings and the work of the American artist Jackson Pollock. The image reflects an interest in pop art and the recent work of street artists like Banksy. Interesting use of media and images that create a fascinating result that responds to the surroundings and sounds created in the studio.

Paul McCartney

Bowie Spewing by Paul McCartney
Bowie Spewing, by Paul McCartney

A-level class C or 4/5

Expressive and strong use of color and selection, with a personal, emotional and intuitive response to his subject. Experimental use of media with a limited palette and a playful selection of selection.

Kurt Cobain

Painting by Kurt Cobain
Untitled painting by Kurt Cobain

A-level class D or 3

Loose interpretation of scale and form that nevertheless captures a lively imagination with a strong sense of color, line and tone. Some consideration for proportions and compositional arrangement, giving an emotional response to a disturbing image.

Joni Mitchell

Still Life with Riot, by Joni Mitchell
Still Life with Riot, by Joni Mitchell

A-level class B or 6

Vivid and energetic use of colors and branding, interpretation of the conventions of still lifes and portraits, creating an exciting composition with a wealth of shapes and textures. Lively combination of figurative and abstract qualities with a nod to post-impressionism.

Chrissie Hynde

Self-portrait, Chrissie Hynde.
Self-portrait of Chrissie Hynde

A-level class A or 7/8

Shows a good understanding of the conventions of early 20th century art. Vivid use of colors with bold use of abstract shapes and forms. Expressive use of brush marks with skillful use of proportions and composition.

Ronnie Wood

Stray Cat Blues by Ronnie Wood
Stray Cat Blues by Ronnie Wood

A level class B or 6

Great energy in the use of media and fieldmaking. Good tone use, understanding of proportion and sense of movement. Demonstrates skilled drawing skills and an ability to capture mood and movement on the stage of an event.

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