Following the release of his second series of silkscreen prints at Castle Fine Arts earlier this year, the embattled actor Johnny Depp decided to continue his artistic practice by tackling a new subject: himselfaccording to Associated press.
The mixed-media screenprint and archival pigment work is based on an image from a photoshoot by Jean-Baptiste Mondino for Dior’s Sauvage fragrance. According to a promotional video, the title of the work, Five, relates to what Depp calls “the fifth year of madness” that surrounded him after the defamation lawsuit between the actor and his ex-wife, actress Amber Heard, who claimed in a 2018 Washington Post editorial that Depp physically assaulted her.
In a trial in Virginia, Heard lost, with the jury saying his references to “sexual abuse” and “domestic violence” amounted to libel. Another trial took place in England when Depp sued the owner of the Sun after this publication, he reported that he abused Heard. Depp lost that lawsuit and was later asked to retire from the “Fantastic Beasts” and “Pirates of the Caribbean” film series.
Depp began working on the portrait in 2021, during what he described in the promotional video as a “time that was, let’s say, a little dark, a little confusing.”
The work continues the comic book-style serigraphs Depp sold to Castle last year and in March 2023. The “Friends & Heroes” and “Friends & Heroes II” series featured celebrities who inspired Depp or befriended during his nearly 40-year acting career, including Heath Ledger, Bob Marley, River Phoenix and Hunter S. Thompson.
Ian Weatherby-Blythe, Managing Director of Castle Fine Art, seemed impressed with the work. “I think it’s the most personal piece he’s ever done,” Weatherby-Blythe said in the promotional video. “I think Johnny still has many, many fans, but I also hope that art buyers will see him as a unique work of art. … He painted and drew his whole life, and I think art connoisseurs will see that.”
The work is priced at £1,950 (around $2,500), less than a single job from its previous releases. Depp has pledged to sign “everyone,” Weatherby-Blythe says, and donate about 10% ($250) of the proceeds from the sale to Mental Health America.