‘Michael Sheen’ – acrylic on canvas 2011
I have known Michael for a little while, and recently went to see his Hamlet, directed by Ian Rickson and currently running at the New Vic. It’s phenomenal. Afterwards we had dinner and Michael spoke at length about what he and Ian had done with the play and why. A couple of weeks later we met again, I cooked an appalling piece of chicken and we asked him about his Passion, a mammoth modern unfurling of the Christ story spread across the streets and beaches of Port Talbot (an industrial port and market town where he grew up, and which has also produced Rob Brydon, Anthony Hopkins and Richard Burton). Michael is deeply energised about his work, and if the formula for success is TALENT + ENERGY (as noted by my manager, who added wisely that the formula for stardom is SUCCESS + ATTITUDE) then Michael radiates them powerfully. He’s surely one of the most extraordinary actors of our generation, and possesses a phenomenal creative drive without any of the exhausting ego that normally accompanies mere dull ambition.
So, as I tend to paint people that I know and find extraordinary, I asked if he would mind awfully. A bit over a week later, interrupted by Christmas of course, and tweeted in its various stages, the large (it’s five foot high) portrait above was completed. For those who do not tweet, or for those who do but who might like to see the sequence together, and above all for those who give a jot because they paint and are interested in the process, I shall set it out as best as I can. Here then, is how it came together:
“Channel 4 is to become the first advertiser to take over every digital screen on the London underground with a New Year’s Eve campaign featuring 16 stars including Jamie Oliver, Zooey Deschanel and Gordon Ramsay.
The campaign, which showcases next year’s Channel 4′s shows, will include three 40-second video clips of its TV stars becoming “increasingly more debauched” over the course of the night.
The “party carriage” video clips – which feature stars including Derren Brown, Alan Carr, Jon Snow and Kirstie Allsopp as “unlikely tube fellows” – aim to mimic a typical commuter using the tube to get to, and from, New Year’s Eve parties.
The videos will run from 6am on 31 December until “early morning” on 1 January.
Channel 4 said the first video clip will see its stars travelling on the tube “side by side, minding their own business, on their way to their respective big nights out”.
Later on, the scene will change and become “increasingly more debauched featuring Channel 4 stars looking slightly the worse for wear”.
Digital poster panels on escalators will appear to show Channel 4 talent travelling alongside commuters to catch the tube.”
Read more at The Guardian
Just a quick post to let you all know that Svengali will be coming to Aylesbury from the 28th May 2012 through to 2nd June 2012.
Tickets go on sale Thursday 22nd Dec.
You can find a list of other 2012 tour dates at http://derrenbrown.co.uk/tour-dates/svengali/
I’ve been spending a bit of time in my painting studio. I thought I might update you. Twitter followers will have seen a shot of me painting the pianist James Rhodes. Here we are:
And here’s a better shot of the painting itself:
They’re acrylic on canvas. I’ve also been back and worked on the portrait of my father. Here it is, about the same size (5ft high) as the one of James:
and, for those who enjoy such things, a bit of detail:
Next up is actor friend Michael Sheen. I’ve taken a few shots and I’m about to get started. (I always take my own photographs and work quietly from them in my own time, as I only get a few hours here and there to paint). I’ll let you know when it’s done. What a great guy to paint. I can’t wait.
There are a few more pictures of portraits (including some of the older caricatures of Rufus Wainwright, Tom Waits, Clint Eastwood et al) on the artwork page of the main site. I’ll let you know here next time I have an exhibition: should be one next year somewhere.
Right, Merry Christmasses or just Happy Holidays, depending on whatnot. Ta-ta for now.
“While it may not help you learn how to Kung Fu fight or fly a B212 Helicopter, a neurofeedback method of learning is reminiscent of something we might have seen in the movie, The Matrix.
The technique would provide more immediate and long-lasting knowledge in tasks that demand a significant level of visual performance, like hitting a curve ball or learning to play the piano.
Researchers from Boston University (BU) and ATR Computational Neuroscience Laboratories in Kyoto, Japan recently demonstrated that they could induce brain activity patterns to match a targeted state by decoding a person’s functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scan of their visual cortex.
In the future, researchers envision a person watching a computer screen and having their brain patterns manipulated to match those of a desired level of task performance, perhaps of an athlete or someone healing from an accident or disease.
Their findings were published in the most recent issue of Science.
“Adult early visual areas are sufficiently plastic to cause visual perceptual learning,” lead author and BU neuroscientist Takeo Watanabe said in a National Science Foundation press release.
However, there is one wrinkle in this Matrix-style approach to learning: the method worked on subjects even when they weren’t aware of what they were learning.
“We found that subjects were not aware of what was to be learned while behavioral data obtained before and after the neurofeedback training showed that subjects’ visual performance improved specifically for the target orientation,” Watanabe said.
Fascinating — sure — but this does open up the door to hypnosis and mind control, which Watanabe is keenly aware of.
“We have to be careful,” he said, “so that this method is not used in an unethical way.” Sounds like a good plot line for the next Matrix movie.”
Via Discovery News (Thanks Annette)