Pete Doherty: blood, art and rock 'n' roll


2015-06-26 11:55:50


Pete Doherty: blood, art and rock 'n' roll

What do Doherty, Bob Dylan and John Lennon have in common? They've each moonlighted as artists

Singer Pete Doherty is all over the news for the wrong reasons again today - this time for his alleged link to the suspected fatal drugs overdose of filmmaker Robin Whitehead, in January.

As a London listings magazine wrote, in 2007: "it seems Kate Moss' [ex-]boyfriend has succeeded in making us look. Though the debate continues over whether he actually has any talent."

On that occasion, Doherty's success in "making us look" surrounded his Bloodworks exhibition, held in London between May-June, 2007.

Art in his blood? Pete Doherty's 'blood paintings' have divided opinion

The Babyshambles musician's first ever artshow, as thetitle suggested, featured 14 paintings inked in Doherty's own blood.

Naturally, the expo drew controversy, attracting the ire of anti-drug campaigners who accused Doherty of glamorising illegal substance abuse.

Prices for the artworks varied from 2,500 for a signed print, to 50,000 for blood spattered canvasses.

Two Sisters by folk legend Bob Dylan

Of course, Doherty isn't the first rock star to down his guitar and pick-up a paintbrush. Other moonlighting rock 'n' roll artists include the Rolling Stones' Ronnie Wood, John Lennon, Paul McCartney and Bob Dylan.

Wood, in particular, hasattracted respect and investment as an artist. Hisworks have receivedpraise and prices as high as $200,000 on the private market.

Elsewhere, Bob Dylan's paintings were exhibited for the first time at London's posh Halcyon Gallery, last month. Valuesranged from 95,000 to incredible estimates of 450,000.

The accomplished paintings are based largely on sketches Dylan made on the road between 1989 and 1992, and chosen by the artist himself.

Two surrealsketches from the early years of John Lennon

Dylan and Wood's artistic credentials are plain to see. Although, perhaps David West was overly harsh in his appraisal of Doherty's Bloodworks.

Such sketches can give a fascinating insight into the mind of the artist. Take, for instance, these twovery rare sketches drawn by John Lennon during his first year at Liverpool Art School.

The surrealism expressed in the images gives clues as to Lennon's rebellious personality during his short time at the Art College - a period during which his feelings of "outsiderdom" have been much reported.

This period of Lennon's life was recently chronicled in the Sam Taylor-Wood directed biopic, Nowhere Boy, starring actor Aaron Johnson as the nascent Beatle.

Both rare Lennon sketches - anda number of other Beatles autographs - are currently held by Paul Fraser Collectibles and arefor sale to collectors.

Images: Dale Harvey (top)/Nottingham Hill Gallery/Halcyon Gallery

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