Rocky, Rambo and Russia or How Stallone Threw a Punch at Art and Won

If you ever considered Sylvester Stallone as being just that incredible action-hero actor who has made movies that will stand long before we are gone and who gave the world universally loved characters such as Rambo or Rocky, you may have to apologize to him for not taking in consideration his artistic skills. He may be very well capable of knocking an adversary down with a slap on his wrist on the silver screen, but in the comfort of his personal life, Sly is fully dedicated to art.

ROCKY III, Sylvester Stallone

ROCKY III, Sylvester Stallone, 1982, ©MGM/UA/courtesy Everett Collection

The famous Hollywood bad boy surprised Russian art world with his recent exposition of personal painting, photography, collages and modern constructions, as his true love before acting was painting and according to the sources, he would any time give up the red carpet for living the joys of an artist.

His collection of over thirty works was exposed at the St. Petersburg Arts Museum and the gallery, entitled Sylvester Stallone. Art. 1975-2013 represents the actor’s work from over four decades. If you ask yourself why didn’t you ever hear of Sylvester Stallone as a painter, maybe because the press didn’t popularize him enough, or maybe because other similar attempts were welcomed in a less warm manner than critics usually welcome his movies. He presented his own art works before, in Miami and Switzerland, but the art critics and curators weren’t too happy with his earlier results, stating that he should stick to making movies and leave art to those who know what they’re doing.

But Stallone is convinced that he is a better painter than actor, or at least this is what he told journalists interviewing him. BBC UK covered the story, emphasizing the Hollywood star’s opening statement which suggested that he would happily spend the rest of his life painting than acting. Now we don’t know if Sly will indeed give up the badass movies he makes and trade fame and fortune for brushes and oils, but at least in the acting department he’s quite well rated. His latest film co-starring equally famous and badass friend, actor and former California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, Escape Plan has impressed the audience quite well since its release. The camera loves him and the fans are still very fond of him and if you should search your Time Warner Cable package, it’s hard not to find one of his older movies. He is still hard as a rock, cool, funny and talented and many of his films can prove it.

But Sylvester Stallone wants to impress with more than muscles, impossible to confound voice, walk and posture, but to show the world that behind the unbreakable hero façade lies a man of great sensitivity and vision. His opening night at the St. Petersburg Museum gathered together in line more than one thousand people just waiting to see his works. Some of the official art critics and the museum’s curator Vladimir Gusev called Stallone a “true artist” and a man full of passion for art. However, some other critics called his exposition a “caricature” which should not have been presented in such prestigious place.

Good or bad, the truth is Stallone managed to impress the public by his mélange of art works combining scenes of his movies, portraits, photos and paintings, as he truly believes that all arts are interconnected and “speak” to each other. His passion for painting goes back to his youth and his Arts studies in Switzerland and if we are to quote the star, painting also offers him the possibility to express his real self, rather than roles which impose boundaries.

You will not find easily for sale Stallone’s paintings, as he very often gifts them to close friends and acquaintances. But if you are close to the actor and you happen to receive one, keep it. Posterity will prove if the big muscled guy was also one of our contemporary misunderstood artists.

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