I tweeted for any questions about Apocalypse. As imagined, with over a million followers the response was very enthusiastic, so I’ll answer the most repeated questions and address a few points as best I can. Thanks everyone who submitted questions.
Here is the text of an article I wrote for the current Radio Times about Apocalypse – the first episode of which airs this Friday, C4 at 9pm. (It’s a little longer than the published version which was edited down a bit)
Well, hello there. This is my brand new website. Brighter, shinier and more absorbent, it was designed by Pixel Dandy (@pixeldandy, creator of Horrorgami) and built by the brilliant team @abeodbart and @drigodwin. It has taken a while to buffet and pummel it into the shape you see now, so do forgive the delay. However, as they say, those who abandon themselves to delayed gratification often accrue commodities of a desirable nature.
Firstly, a few quick things to point out:
1 – After much concern, the ‘store’ is remaining a ‘store’ and not a ‘shop’. I would like it to be a ‘shop’ but ‘Derren Brown Shop’ just sounds a bit lame. Either way, we will now globally ship (what’s wrong with ‘post’ for the love of God?) the few items we keep for people who would like to have a little piece of me across their chests (T-shirt) or entirely inside them (postcard pack). We have a limited number of signed Svengali brochures for sale too.
2 – If you are in the UK and perhaps due to mental illness would like to own one of three massive pictures of me taken from the front of the Novello theatre this year, feel free to enter our half-arsed competition to win one. But really, ask yourself slowly and repeatedly if you genuinely want it. What the hell are you going to do with it? Ok, it’s probably wipe-clean. But then what? If you’re really sure, email us at <<competition now closed>> and say what you’re planning to do with it and we’ll pluck three of our favourite answers out of a fruit-bowl and get it (the picture) to you. Here are some photographs so you get the idea. We can’t guarantee which one of the three we’ll send you but do say if you prefer one and we’ll do our best.
3 – We’re hoping you might spot a few bugs or glitches that we’ve missed. If you do (or if you want to send us any feedback that you think might be appreciated), please be kind enough to email email@example.com. We’ll deal with any errors discreetly and sensitively, ensuring that no liquid escapes onto your clothes and giving you complete peace of mind.
There you go. Experience, user.
‘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:
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 shotsÂ and I’m about to get started.Â (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.