12 May 2022

Robbie Williams names never-before-seen artwork after popular 80s’ female names

12 May 2022

Robbie Williams and Ed Godrich have called each of the paintings from their debut exhibition after popular female names from the 80s which have “inspired” their art.

The Take That singer and the interior designer have spent the last five years creating 14 never-before-seen works deeply rooted in the rave and music scene from that era.

The Black And White Paintings exhibition will open on Friday at Sotheby’s New Bond Street galleries in central London and run until May 25.

A piece titled Donna (Yui Mok/PA) (PA Wire)

Williams said they are now ready to share their “creative vision with the world.”

Talking about the inspiration behind the naming of the pieces – which include Janet, Donna and Mandy – Williams told the PA news agency: “Because we use human names for the work, it sometimes feels like we are christening the painting.”  He added: “We like the obscurity of these names, which were highly popular back in the day but are not so common today.

A piece called Mandy on display (Yui Mok/PA) (PA Wire)

“For us, they are the names that define the 80s, an influential era which has inspired our art.”

Williams and Godrich, who bonded over a love of art and music, worked on several paintings at a time, developing them in tandem, with each adding layers of detail.

They told PA: “We use just two paints during the process, black and white only. We edit and change the work as we progress, chopping and changing between blacks and white, inventing scenes and over-painting.

A piece called Janet at the debut exhibition (Yui Mok/PA) (PA Wire)

“Each character develops organically because of this process and we often ask each other where did a certain character disappear to……and realise this has morphed into a new person. “We often struggle to finish paintings. It takes one of us to be quite bossy, normally Robbie, to put the breaks on. “The edges of the paintings are an important part of each work. This is the very last stage of the process for us. When the final edge is complete, we can safely say that the work is complete.”

The pair said they recently completed an eight-hour painting session without stopping.

They said: “A bank of bonkers creatures who we love – a few of these appear more frequently than others throughout the work.  “Signing each work is really important. We almost create a new artwork on the back of each painting, with names, the date and one of our characters.

“We can’t really remember what happened or what we painted other than there was a finished work at the end.  “When we close our eyes after painting for long hours, all we see is faces and pairs of eyes staring at us.”

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