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2023-11-21 00:00:00 Avenue Magazine How Painting Brought Sharon Stone Back to her Artistic Center

How Painting Brought Sharon Stone Back to her Artistic Center

Sharon Stone at her show, "Welcome to my Garden"
Photo by ChiChi Ubina, courtesy of C. Parker Gallery

Unlike movie stars who launch cosmetic lines or record an album, Sharon Stone has pivoted to painting. With two gallery shows under her belt, the Oscar nominee talks to Avenue about making art vs. movies, her obsession with snakes, and why she loves Amelia Earhart.

The title of your show is “Welcome to My Garden.”
The majority of my work is about nature. So many people want to be deniers of what’s happening to our environment. It’s like, go ahead — the plant’s going to shake you off anyway. You think you’re in control of the planet? You’re not. It’ll just get rid of you. You think you’re in control of women? It’s called Mother Nature, not Father Nature. Good luck.

Your work reminds me of Joan Mitchell and Helen Frankenthaler.
I’m very inspired by women painters and I’m excited to be a part of the female painting scene. A lot of women painters people didn’t even bother with before are now starting to be experienced and their work is being brought forward, even postmortem.

Your paintings are so colorful.
They say that there’s a certain percentage of people that have that extra chromosome and they see more color. I’ve always had that. When people do their houses, I always come and pick the paint. For example, I think you should paint your ceiling. People don’t think they should paint their ceiling a color. Is the sky white? No! Paint your ceiling a color. Get a little bit excited about looking up at your ceiling.

Tell me about your diptych, Amelia.
Women think about Amelia Earhart a lot. I was at a fundraiser for the National Women’s History Museum and a woman got up to speak before me and she talked about Amelia. And I said to the room: “Who in this room thinks that the idea of her crashing into the ocean is a man’s version of history?’ And everybody raised their hand. Then I said, ‘okay, who thinks she landed on a Polynesian island and lived out the rest of her life?’ And every woman raised her hand. We’ve never gotten our stories written by women, so we don’t get our stories told.

Photo by ChiChi Ubina, courtesy of C. Parker Gallery

Why do you paint snakes?
I like the way snakes constantly sheds its skin and changes. And I think that shedding skin is about change. Often when I make a painting, when I put the shedding snakeskin in, it’s about leaving that experience behind.

How has painting changed you?
It’s brought me back to my artistic center. So much in acting is about trying to deliver the director’s vision, and that is very expansive. But at the same time, you have all these other people who are constantly coming in with their ego needs and what they think they want and what they think they need. And they have to have it right now. They’re trying to pull and yank and manipulate you. It’s very hard while you’re ripping your guts out and you’re emotionally so ripped open to maintain your decorum. And if you tell them to fuck off, then you’re not being a nice person and they don’t understand that they’re not being a nice person dealing with you while you’re an open wound bleeding onto film.

That sounds intense.
You get twisted up and can lose the finer qualities of your own artistry. I’m a super authentic, raw actor. That’s why my work is so dangerous, and I needed to be able to get to a safe place in myself to get back to the core of that work. And being able to be by myself and refine my artistic center has brought me back to that. I think now I probably would like to do theater so that I can give a whole performance without someone running into the middle of it with their needs.

Making movies involves tons of people on set. Is painting a solitary endeavor?
I have a studio assistant now who is a young man. He’s a musician and a painter. He paints pop art. I like his opinion. So periodically I yell his name: Zach. I’m like, ‘Zach, come here. What do you think?’ So, I have a great person to bounce things off of. He’s in a punk band. When I was his age, punk was happening, and I was very into it. We had this common language because it’s come around again.

“Sharon Stone: Welcome to my Garden” is on view now at C. Parker Gallery in Greenwich, CT, until January 15, 2024.

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