Being stuck at home in lockdown has meant more time for painting in the case of mentalist and illusionist Derren Brown. The 49-year-old is well known for his caricatures of celebrities and his latest subject is none other than the late Queen singer Freddie Mercury. Express.co.uk recently caught up with Brown on Zoom, who shared from his art studio just how he captured Freddie for his impressive new portrait.
The affable star said how it’s been very easy for him to get on with painting during the pandemic, due to the extra time on his hands.
He admitted that having “something bigger than you to be getting on with is really important.”
Even before he started taking magic seriously, Brown was drawing from an early age. He spoke of how he was “mesmerised” one day when his mother brought home a ream of yellow paper for him to use. It turns out those exaggerated famous faces he paints today found their origin in big-nosed witches he obsessively sketched as a boy.
The 49-year-old said: “I did Art A-level but I gave up because I was sick of drawing daffodils and peppers.”
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Freddie Mercury: Derren Brown on capturing ‘EXTRAORDINARY’ Queen singer in new painting (Image: GETTY/DERREN BROWN)
Illusionist Derren Brown is also an accomplished portrait painter (Image: GETTY)
But after pinching a bunch of paints from school, he started using acrylics, which he still works with to this day. And rather than inviting celebrities to sit for him, Brown prefers looking at photographs for his paintings.
The artist, who loves listening to Rufus Wainwright while at work, said: “I like to get on with it on my own. If I had to make conversation it would defeat the point!”
Asked why he almost exclusively captures well-known mugs, the illusionist replied: “It’s just how I see people; it’s more of an effort to do a straight portrait when I’m not exaggerating. That’s much harder. The character thing, I’m just sort of drawing what I see.
“You have a sense of what the final image is going to be. Freddie Mercury’s been in my head for a while.”
Derren Brown's Freddie Mercury has sold to Matt Lucas, but