Lincoln Townley: a profile
Artist Lincoln Townley, husband of TV's Denise Welch, is set to fly to America to present Charlie Sheen with a portrait of the actor (above).
It's due to be auctioned to raise funds for addiction support charity The Abstinence-Based Recovery (ABR) Trust.
Sheen commented: “He has captured the essence of what it is to live with addiction and he is able to do this because he has his own story of addiction and recovery.
"To know that the proceeds from the sale of my portrait will help others get support from the ABR Trust in their struggle with alcoholism and substance abuse means a lot to me.”
Another portrait, of comedian and actor Russell Brand, made $20,000 for the ABR Trust last year.
It's one of a series of Townley works depicting celebrities who have struggled with addictions. Gary Oldman and Mickey Rourke have reportedly commissioned Townley to paint them.
Townley told the Manchester Evening News: “I lived for years in denial that I didn’t have a problem and I could stop drinking and using drugs tomorrow, it’s just not as easy as that at all.
"Being honest with myself and seeking help and support has been paramount to undertake my own journey of sobriety and I know that many people will understand when I say to approach sobriety alone is virtually impossible - the sale at auction of my portraits have already funded people through treatment and for me that’s what my commitment to The ABR Trust is all about”.
Townley's work, which channels the spirit of that other Soho-dwelling artist Francis Bacon, has been growing in popularity of late.
An early collection, titled The Hunger, deals with the chaos of his drug-fuelled lost years. The melting, screaming faces push the viewer into a devastating and deeply affecting meditation on the horrors of addiction. The later series, Aspirations, is drawn from his newfound sobriety. Its silhouettes juxtaposed against psychedelic swirls of paint appear more hopeful.
Townley has enjoyed a series of high profile shows in Manchester, London and Berlin, along with a residency at the Hilton's Doubletree Hotel.
In addition to his artwork, Townley is the author of The Hunger - an unflinching account of his addictions.