In recent years, a particular trend is catching on in Hollywood: actors who become artists, wherein their sensitivity and their passion is transformed into something that goes far beyond acting.

The latest to join this category is the actress Lucy Liu, most famous for her starring role in Charlie's Angels (2000) and its 2003 sequel, Full Throttle. Liu has actually cultivated her inclination for painting since adolescence, and she already has several international exhibitions behind her, important shows that have brought her works between the United States and Europe since 1993. This month however, Liu’s works will be exhibited in Singapore on the occasion of the exhibition Unhomed Belongings, a visual dialogue between her and the renowned Indian artist, Shubigi Rao.

Lucy Liu and Shubigi Rao. Photo: National Museum of Singapore Lucy Liu and Shubigi Rao. Photo: National Museum of Singapore

Liu creates her artworks in her studio in New York, where her production includes drawings, paintings, collages and serigraphs. However, most of her works are composed of salvaged objects from discarded materials that the artist collects and reuses, transforming them into emotional compositions full of sensations.

Lucy Liu in her studio in New York Lucy Liu in her studio in New York

The theme of protection is among the cornerstone of Liu's production: her works aim to convey a sense of security and protection, which she herself likely desires. In fact, her works have long been protected by the use of her Chinese name, Yu Ling, and that's why for several years we have not been aware of her artistic production.

When it comes to actors who, over time, have made their artistic vocation public, Liu is one in a line of many.

Adrien Brody, ‘Hooked’ Adrien Brody, ‘Hooked’

Adrien Brody also made a ‘coming out’ as a visual artist in 2016, following an episode linked to a friend who was supposed to be making a work for the actor. Brody procured a canvas for the artist, which later become the basis for his first works.

In an interview with Vogue Italia, Brody said, “Painting, music, photography and visual art have been creative forms of expression for me for decades. I’ve drawn and painted for many years (I used to paint fish and sharks even as child), but I never had the confidence to share that passion. More recently I’ve begun to nurture this, and painting has essentially become my main creative outlet.”

Dennis Hopper, ‘Paul Newman’, 1964. Photo: The Hopper Art Trust Dennis Hopper, ‘Paul Newman’, 1964. Photo: The Hopper Art Trust

Even before Brody however, the likes of Sir Anthony Hopkins and Dennis Hopper dedicated parts of their lives to art.

Dennis Hopper was a valued photographer, thanks to a gift from his first wife: in the 1960s, Brooke Howard gave Hopper a Nikon with which the actor began to shoot and tell his world. The subject of exhibitions at an international level, Hooper's shots narrate his life among actors, family and friends, travels on the road in the desert, and female nudes.

Anthony Hopkins, ‘Opera Ball 1’. Photo: © Margam Fine Art, LLC Anthony Hopkins, ‘Opera Ball 1’. Photo: © Margam Fine Art, LLC

Winner of an Academy Award and Golden Globe Award, Sir Anthony Hopkins is not only one of the most revered actors of the past fifty years, but he is also a renowned painter with enormous creative talent: "The face is not important. It’s the eyes that are the most haunting part of one’s soul. It’s very primitive. It’s childish art. It has to be childish because I am a child. I’ve discovered lately that I enjoy all that is supposedly wrong with me. I used to take myself so seriously, but now I don’t. I allow myself to revel in the exhilarating nature of life."

His website collects part of the artist's production and gives a global view of his current exhibitions.

Lucy Liu, ‘Velocity’, created following the attack of 11 September 2001. Photo: AFP Lucy Liu, ‘Velocity’, created following the attack of 11 September 2001. Photo: AFP

The list of Hollywood actors dedicated to art, for both passion and profession, is longer still. Johnny Depp and Brad Pitt, for example, have also ventured into painting, as well as Jim Carrey and James Franco.

Lucy Liu, however, represents the female side of this small Hollywood revolution and, waiting for new actresses who will dazzle us with their art, we remind you that the exhibition with the works of Liu and Rao, Unhomed Belongings, is taking place in Singapore, at the National Museum until 24 February 2019.

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