Sylvester Stallone, Vanity Fair 1993

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"Action star Sylvester Stallone sat still recently for photographer Annie Leibovitz, posing in the nude in the posture of Auguste Rodin's "The Thinker" for the upcoming cover of Vanity Fair magazine. Stallone, 47, says he works out two, sometimes three times a day. Despite his hunk body and that tough-guy Rocky-Rambo image, Stallone says the "Thinker" pose is not so out of character as some might believe. He paints and even writes some verse himself."

"Although Stallone is best known for famed roles in “Rocky” and “Rambo”, his first “real” love is painting. Since childhood he has identified his true calling as a visual artist and has even stated that if offered the choice, he would spend his life painting instead of starring in action movies."

"Stallone's acting career isn't far from his work, however, in the exhibition 'Real Love', which opened earlier this month and ends this weekend. One of the most talked about pieces in the exhibit that includes works from as recently as 2015 is On Finding Rocky, a 1975 painting of the boxer that Stallone made while writing and starring in the movie of the same name. Stallone said that he wanted to see what his Rocky Balboa character would look like before giving him lines or sending him up staircases in Philadelphia. 'Don’t take this sarcastically, but I am trying to prove John Rambo’s subconsciousness,' Stallone said. 'It’s like being lost in a haunted forest, so that’s always a source of cinematic inspiration. [small](text continues after image)[/small]


“Usually I try to visualise something before I put it into words. Words are very difficult and sometimes unforgiving. So if I could see what Rocky looked like, then perhaps I could write about him. So I began to work on this image. But I didn’t want to use a brush because I felt that the character was made out of industrial tools. He was a man that was forged by the hardships of life. So I put this image up there and I started to actually carve it with a screwdriver. Then I took newspaper clippings which would reflect what it would be like to be a very poor, unsuccessful man, especially a boxer, and then, all of sudden, the image came alive. Then I said, ‘OK, this is a character I would like to see written about because he looked interesting visually.’ If he looked interesting visually, then I think that he would translate through to literature and then cinema. I know it sounds ambitious but that was the genesis of Rocky.”

"Like Rocky, most of Stallone’s paintings contain a restless, pent-up energy. His favourite colour is arterial red. (“Painting attacks the senses,” he says.) He likes to paint in his garage, sometimes wearing his pyjamas, occasionally naked. To make room, he first has to move his Aston Martin DBS, Mercedes-Benz SL65, Bentley Continental GTC and Porsche Panamera on to the front drive. Stallone works best when gripped by “crisis” and “emotional upheaval”. You believe him when he says that his biggest difficulty as an artist is knowing when to stop."

"Now, if you happen to be in St. Petersburg in the next month or so, you can check out his work for yourself at The Russian Museum, where his abstract paintings are on display in a 40-year retrospective entitled "Sylvester Stallone. Painting. From 1975 Until Today. Despite local political protests of the retrospective (a statement from Leningrad’s Communist party called Stallone the “embodiment of Cold War and the U.S. military machine”) crowds are still clamoring to get a peek at Rocky’s work. All the attention has not seemed to faze the 67-year-old star, who simply told fans: “I hope you will like my pictures.” [small](text continues after image)[/small]


On his acquaintance with Andy Warhol:

“I was in Studio 54 – I think it was 1979 or ‘80 – and Andy came up to me and introduced himself. He was very shy – and he started taking photos. He took them at very stealthy angles: click, click, click, click, click. Then a year or so passes and I’m in Hungary filming Escape to Victory with Pelé and Michael Caine. At the weekend, I go down to the Cannes Film Festival, just to take a break, and there he is at the Hotel de Paris. Andy goes, ‘Sylvester, can I take a portrait?’ And I say, ‘Yes’ and take my shirt off. At that point I’m very thin because I’m playing a goalie in a POW camp. So he takes probably the thinnest picture I’ve ever had taken of me since I made it. Then he sees me a year later at Studio 54. I now have a beard for Nighthawks and he goes, ‘I’ve got to do another portrait.’ I looked the complete opposite. That’s how we met and we just continued to cross paths. I got Andy, do you know what I mean? Talk about strange pairings but we just had a great rapport. But he never saw my art. I wasn’t going to brag about my art to Andy Warhol.”

Scanned from various internet sources.


Update december 2016:

The Daily Mail has reported that Donald Trump has asked veteran actor Sylvester Stallone to take a top arts-related job in his administration – most likely the role of Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA).

The NEA describes itself on its website as “an independent federal agency that funds, promotes, and strengthens the creative capacity of our communities by providing all Americans with diverse opportunities for arts participation.”

According to the Daily Mail, Stallone is favorable towards the idea, with the actor having previously spoken of his admiration for Trump and hinted that he would like to enter politics. A source told the Daily Mail that Trump feels that this sort of A-list appointment will greatly benefit the arts industry.

Another reason for Trump to appoint Stallone is the Hollywood screen legend’s very own artistic career. Represented by Switzerland’s Galerie Gmurzynska, Stallone has previously stated that since childhood, he has identified his true calling as a visual artist.