Johnny Depp may be one of the world’s biggest box-office draws, but that doesn’t mean he’s above supporting the work of lesser-known artists—if only as his alter-ego.
Earlier this month on Red Velvet Media, host Holly Stephey welcomed L.A.-based painter Xany Rudoff, whose most recent work, the Icon Series, transforms vintage record albums and rock icons using techniques developed by Renaissance icon painters like El Greco, Michael Damaskenos and Theophanes the Cretan.
Among the celebrated names who own Xany’s creations are actor Benicio Del Toro, director David Lynch and The Strokes’ Albert Hammond, Jr.
Johnny, too, owns at least one Rudoff—though you won’t catch her referring to him by name.
When Holly asks, “Who was the recent rock star-slash celebrity you were commissioned to do work for?” Xany replies:
“Well, there is a very, very famous person I just did a commission for. I can’t exactly say who he is because I was sworn not to, but l will give some hints.
“Let’s just say, think of Keith Richards; think of a pirate; think of Hunter S. Thompson; think of someone in Wonderland—if you can connect those dots.”
Then she explains the evolution of her tableau titled Keef.
“I found this picture of Keith Richards—a good picture of Keith Richards, I should say—this amazing picture from the ‘70s, where he’s wearing a turban, he’s got these aviator glasses on, and he’s got a cigarette dangling.
“So I did that in 24-carat gold. And it’s one of my favorite pieces,” she says.
A few minutes later, a caller who’d been waiting on the line chimes in.
“Oh, hey, this is Vic… Listen, I have album idea for you, OK? A record cover,” says Johnny—who has played two characters named Victor during his 26-year screen career: Victor Van Dort, in Tim Burton‘s 2005 animated feature Corpse Bride, and Lt. Victor in Julian Schnabel‘s 2000 biopic of Cuban poet Reinaldo Arenas, Before Night Falls.
“There’s a band called Orchid Spangiafora right? Ever heard of ‘em? The album is called Flee Past’s Ape Elf, continues the Pirates of the Caribbean star, who modeled his character, Jack Sparrow, on Keith.
“You find that record, and I will buy it,” he adds of the obscure collection of “sound collages” by Robert Carey.
Inspired by The Beatles’ Revolution 9, Flee Past’s Ape Elf was released on vinyl in 1979, has sold 724 copies and is now out of print. Its title is a palindrome, meaning it reads the same backward and forward.
Later still, after Xany tells Johnny, “You find that album and send it my way and I will customize it for you, baby,” the superstar says:
“You’re on the Twitter, right? Can I get a hold of you there? How about the Facebook?”
To borrow a phrase from syndicated gossip columnist Cindy Adams, Only on BlogTalkRadio, kids, only on BlogTalkRadio.
Click here to hear Johnny Depp’s full call as Vic, which gets under way around 34:28, then picks up at 51:00.
Click here to check out more of Xany Rudoff’s work.
Click here to read more about Orchid Spangiafora Flee Past’s Ape Elf.