Johnny Depp creates debut self-portrait in ‘dark’ and ‘confusing’ time

Category: Lifestyle/Entertainment


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. explosive / ɪkˈsploʊ sɪv / (adj.) – likely to cause a strong negative emotion, such as anger or hate

    Their explosive argument led to a broken friendship.

  2. oversee / ˌoʊ vərˈsi / (v.) – to watch someone/something to make sure that a job is done correctly

    A new project manager will oversee this project.

  3. madness / ˈmæd nɪs / (n.) – a behavior or thinking that is dangerous or foolish

    Voting for a corrupt politician is madness.

  4. exhaustion / ɪgˈzɔs tʃən / (n.) – the state or condition of being extremely tired

    The players’ intense training for one month led to physical exhaustion.

  5. spit it out / spɪt ɪt aʊt / (idiom) – used to tell someone to express or say something freely

    The acting workshop instructor encouraged the shy participants to freely express themselves and just spit it out.


Read the text below.

Johnny Depp has painted the emotions of recent years into a self-portrait and is offering the result for sale as a time-limited edition.

The actor began working on the piece, titled “Five,” around 2021 in the midst of an explosive dispute with his ex-wife, Amber Heard, which played out in courtrooms on both sides of the Atlantic.

“I think this is the most personal piece he’s ever done,” said Ian Weatherby-Blythe, managing director of Castle Fine Art, which is handling the sale of “Five.” The gallery also oversaw Depp’s sold-out debut art collection, the series of portraits “Friends and Heroes.”

“He revisited the eyes over and over and over again. And when you look at the piece, you know, it’s a beautiful portrait. But when you look at the eyes there’s something very meaningful behind the eyes, there’s something, you know, quite sad.”

“It was created at a time that was, let’s say, a bit dark, a bit confusing,” Depp said in a video to promote the sale. “Essentially, I just wrote ‘Five’ on there because I was just about to enter the fifth year of the madness,” he added.

Using archival pigment, in the style of his earlier series of portraits, “Five” marks the first time Depp has sought to capture his own image. A smaller artwork, with a lower price tag, “Five” is described as deliberately intimate and shows the actor in a state of emotional exhaustion.

“It’s not the most comfortable thing doing a self-portrait,” Depp said, noting he would sit with a mirror and sketch himself in different lights, times and angles. “It should just be some expression, spit it out as it gets spit out.”

He also intends to sign “each and every one,” said Weatherby-Blythe. “He’s made that commitment, he wants to give the opportunity to as many people as possible to buy his art and also he wants to try to raise as much money as he can for Mental Health America,” he added. From the proceeds of each sale, $200 is to be donated to the non-profit.

This article was provided by The Associated Press.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

  • Depp said that he created the portrait during a dark and confusing time. What specific time of your life would you like to paint? Why? Discuss.
  • Do you think painting has the ability to effectively communicate what someone is going through? Why or why not? Discuss.

Discussion B

  • How do you think artistic expression can help people cope with difficult emotions? Discuss.
  • Aside from creating an artistic piece, what other activities do you think can help someone who’s experiencing emotional exhaustion? Why? Discuss.