I’m scrolling through Twitter, trying to figure out how the heck to use the dang thing, and I come across a video of a blond posed seductively, painter’s smock draped across her shoulders. The camera swings around to show Britney Spears, Pop Princess, working intently on two paintings: one of pink and purple flowers, the other a rainbow of impressionist strokes. She captions her post “Sometimes you just gotta play!!!!!”
Given that she’s a singer, and not a painter, I don’t really care about the quality of her work. She’s putting herself out there, doing something that she isn’t good at, but making a difference with it. She donated the flower canvas to a charity auction to benefit the Las Vegas Massacre Memorial, raising $10,000 for the cause.
I’m a huge believer in “Art for Art’s Sake”, and have to smile when she posts a video of her and her family painting not long after. It takes courage to put yourself out there, and just embracing the good that comes from creative expression, and then using it to do some good in the world is commendable. Do I really think she poses bikini clad on the terrace with mozart playing in the background every time she paints? No, probably not. She’s theatrical, and that’s ok-- we all expect that from Britney.
In the end, this whole piece of fanfare isn’t even about the painting. It’s not good, and neither are the Artist’s Loft paints she’s using. Her name alone is enough to drive the sale-- the internet is crazed for strange trophies from loved celebrities. Britney’s chewing gum, David Bowie’s hair, and a used tissue sold by Scarlett Johansson herself-- weird keepsakes are sprinkled all across ebay. It’s like people are competing to have the weirdest celeb collectable. The novelty of the painting is enough to drive prices sky high.
So the sale price is more about sensationalism than the general merits of the artwork. That’s okay, we’re pretty well used to that from the art world. Whether it sold for $10,000 or $10, my hope is the same:
I do hope that someone out there looks at this display and says “I can do that” and picks up a bush. I hope that someone who’s been too shy to share their paintings sees her tweet and takes the leap, because you don’t have to be amazing to share your progress. I hope that the inspiration sparked by those pink and purple flowers causes another $10,000 worth of good in the world.