A sparkling collaboration
I am delighted to feature the stunning Diamond Dust Collection: an incredible collaboration between esteemed contemporary artist Simon Claridge and legendary English photographer Terry O’Neill whose work features at the National Portrait Gallery in London and is considered one of the great British photographers of our time. He gained renown documenting the fashions, styles, and celebrities of the 1960s, and for over six decades he has photographed the frontline of fame, from the greats of screen and stage, to presidents, prime ministers and rock stars.
I first came across Simon Claridge’s work in 2008 when the art gallery near my offices in Canary Wharf invited me to attend a preview of his debut collection and was wowed by his work. My favourite piece was ‘For your eyes only’ a limited edition print, which was so seductive, powerful and simply stunning. It was also first piece of art I had ever bought.
Over the years, Simon and I have remained friends and I have watched as his work has become even more impressive, featuring well known iconic figures and his now signature use of diamond dust in his paintings. I also love the story of how after graduating with a degree in fine art, Simon began working at an art gallery in Windsor but each night he painted, consumed by the dream of one day having his own work hanging on the walls. One morning, he decided to replace the window display with his own pieces. By lunchtime, he’d sold all of them and never had to work in the gallery again.
In this latest collection, Simon has taken iconic images from Terry’s hallowed archives and applied his signature diamond dust style which he has applied thoughtfully, to retain the essence of the original exposures and showcase the style of both artists.
I was delighted to catch up with Simon at the launch of the new collection at the gorgeous Castle Gallery in South Molton Street in London over the summer.
My favourite piece in the collection is the one featuring Frank Sinatra on the Boardwalk in Miami, taken in 1968, on the first day of filming ‘The Lady in Cement’, as Frank was walking from his hotel to the film set. Terry has commented that “This was the first time I ever saw Frank and I was astonished by the mere power of his presence, mesmerizing the crowd as he walked casually past.” The story of how the picture was taken is even more intriguing. Terry had been given a letter from Ava Gardner who he had met in London, which he delivered to Frank. The letter ensured that Terry could take pictures of Frank without being pushed away by the bouncer entourage!
The collection also features icons such as Mohammed Ali, Raquel Welch and Brigitte Bardot.
I absolutely loved the Diamond Dust collection and can’t wait to see what exciting new work Simon has in store for us in the future!
Note the pieces are available on paper and canvas : Framed Silkscreen on Paper with Diamond Dust | Edition of 150 (from £995) or Framed Silkscreen on Canvas with Diamond Dust (from £2,995) – contact Castle Galleries or Simon Claridge for more information.