Johnny Depp to Sell Self-Portraits After Libel Trial

Johnny Depp Decided to Sell Self-Portraits After the Series of Controversial Libel Trials With His Ex-Wife Amber Heard.

Jul 23, 2023By Angela Davic, News, Discoveries, In-depth Reporting, and Analysis
Johnny Depp
Johnny Depp Via Pool/Getty Images


Johnny Depp, an actor, and since 2021 an artist, decided to sell his self-portraits. He started his artistic career one year before trials between him and his ex-wife, actress Amber Heard, started. He released a promotion video, where he described his starter-portrait artistic period as the time that was “let’s say, a bit dark, a bit confusing”. At first, he used serigraphy technique.


Which Celebrities Inspired Johnny Depp?

Johnny Depp
The actor signing a print. Pic: Castle Fine Art


Serigraphy is a sophisticated stenciling technique for surface printing. In the process, a design is cut out of paper or other thin, strong material and then printed by rubbing, rolling, or spraying paint or ink through the cutout areas. The actor created two series of this type of art and released it at Castle Fine Arts a few months ago. Now, his inspiration is something else, or rather someone else, and that is himself.


The series carry the names of “Friends & Heroes” and “Friends & Heroes II”. The actor’s inspiration was famous people with whom he became friends during his four decade long career. Among these celebrities are Heath Ledger, Bob Marley, River Phoenix, and Hunter S. Thompson. He used the style of comic books, which he was selling last year, and continued to do so in 2023.


pirates caribbean film still jack sparrow will turner
Johnny Depp and Orlando Bloom in Pirates of the Caribbean (2003) is an example of the modern romanticization of pirates, via


Ian Weatherby-Blythe, managing director of Castle Fine Art was really impressed with his work. “I think it’s the most personal piece he’s ever done”, Weatherby-Blythe said in the promotional video. “I think Johnny still has many, many fans out there, but I’m also hoping that art buyers will see it as a one-off work of art.… He’s painted and drawn his entire life, and I think art connoisseurs will see that”.

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The Fifth Year of Madness

Johnny Depp
Johnny Depp is selling his artwork as NFTs CREDIT: Elliot Nyman/Pantheon Art


The piece costs £1,950, which is lower than the cost of just one of his earlier publications. Depp agreed to sign “each and every one,” according to Weatherby-Blythe, and gift around 10% ($250) of the sales revenue to Mental Health America. When it comes to his self-portraits, he calls them “the fifth year of madness”. The name of the program refers to the periods before the court and the lawsuit of his ex-wife.


The work title is “five”, which is explained in the promotion video. In one trial, in Virginia, Heard lost, with the jury claiming her references to “sexual violence” and “domestic abuse” amounted to defamation. Another trial occurred in England when Depp sued the owner of the Sun after that publication reported he had abused Heard.


Johnny Depp’s NFT collection CREDIT: Elliot Nyman/Pantheon Art


Depp lost that trial and was subsequently asked to step back from two movies. These are the “Fantastic Beasts” and “Pirates of the Caribbean” film series. In his work he used the mixed-media silkscreen and archival pigment work. They relay on an image from a photoshoot directed by Jean-Baptiste Mondino for Dior’s fragrance Sauvage.

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By Angela DavicNews, Discoveries, In-depth Reporting, and AnalysisAngela is a journalism student at the Faculty of Political Science in Belgrade and received a scholarship for continued education in Prague. She completed her internship at the daily newspaper DANAS and worked as an executive editor at Talas.