Portraits Hardcover – 5 Jun 2009
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"Derren Brown, one of the most infuriatingly talented people I've ever met, is also an incredibly gifted painter. Unfair and, frankly, selfish" (David Tennant)
"Clearly the best dinner-party guest in history - he's either a balls-out con artist or the scariest man in Britain" (Charlie Brooker Guardian)
"One of Britain's favourite showmen also has an enviable talent for painting" (Nottingham Evening Post)
"Magician makes magical art" (Birmimgham Sunday Mercury)
Derren Brown's brilliant painted caricatures of his heroesSee all Product description
Top customer reviews
Appreciation of caricature is the kind of thing you could write a doctoral thesis about. It is probably linked to how much you can tolerate ambiguity - some people don't 'get' caricatures at all, while others say they reveal truths a more naturalistic portrait does not. It is worth emphasising just how elaborate these pictures are - no mere line drawings. Of course, some caricaturists can reduce a face to a few simple lines but here we have something different: almost a bridge between oil paintings (which generally flatter) and caricatures (which generally don't though Brown insists he has a fondness for his subjects. Perhaps that's why he hasn't done Richard Littlejohn or Alastair Campbell?)
The accompanying text is fascinating, taking in psychology and philosophy as well as art - and, of course, the odd aside about the author's OTHER job also creeps in. The choice of subjects is eclectic and revealing. If you love portraiture and caricature, you will want to buy this book. I just hope he doesn't get so addicted to painting that he stops performing!
If you've had a look at Derren's artwork on his website this is a great chance to take a closer look. There's also a narrative and musings by the man himself and even some quotes from some of the celebs he has chosen to paint.
Go on, buy it - you know you want to!
If you're a fan of Derren Brown `the artist', then of course you're going to be chuffed!
However, if you're a fan of Derren Brown `the performer' I would issue a warning: This will NOT be what you are looking for.
I fit into the third camp. But, having had the time to peruse the book, I'm now edging my tent closer to the parameters of Derren Brown `the artist' too.
There is no doubt that this man is a skilled gent in many areas of his life, and although I'm not a fan of caricature myself, I can recognise a talent when I see it.
Rather than being just a `coffee table book', this album of interesting work gives a good insight into each of the portraits, on roughly a 1 page of text to 1 one full, beautifully glossy-page, image ratio.
The commentary flows smoothly from one painting to the next, highlighting not only why they were chosen as a subject, but anecdotes on the subjects and personal experiences of the artist as well.
There are also some lovely touches scattered throughout this book too that you would not usually be privy to from many artists.
A funny little letter about his own portrait from Gael García Bernal, warms you instantly to both subject and artist and makes you realise that there is definitely a sensitivity required in this satirical genre of art.
If you do choose to purchase this book then I think you would be greatly rewarded when your delivery arrives. However, I for one, am secretly still hoping that this very talented artist doesn't give up his day-job as a result!
I don't know if there will be a volume 2 but I'll be one of the first on the list - a great coffee table book.
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