He was a boy band idol and now wants to be an art market darling—pop superstar Robbie Williams has unveiled 14 large-scale works at Sotheby’s London, co-created with Ed Godrich ((Black and White Paintings, until 25 May) under the moniker Williams Godrich. All 14 paintings—a swirl of white motifs on black canvases drawing on street and Outsider art—have female names such as Linda, Donna, Paula and Tracy, recalling Williams’s 1980s upbringing in Stoke-on-Trent, UK.
Ed Godrich, the co-founder of the Godrich Interiors company, says in a statement: “All the characters are in our head and they come to life as the painting develops. Sometimes a character will emerge by mistake, or part of a figurine will happen by chance because of the direction of a single brushstroke. Robbie might see something completely different when it’s his turn to draw, that’s why our works take on multiple narratives.”
Williams told The Times that watching Banksy’s documentary, Exit Through the Gift Shop, prompted the art project. “I was like, Oh f***! Anybody can [do] art. So I went down to the art-supply shop and bought everything and started doing things in my garage, which were shit, and then got a bit better.”
In the interview he also discusses another famous musician who has turned to art. “Bob Dylan is in that category where, if he did a shit on a Chevrolet, people would go, ‘That is the best shit that’s ever been laid on a Chevrolet,’” Williams adds. “I look at Dylan’s stuff and think, ‘I could do that.’”
Sotheby’s is deepening its relationship with Williams. In March, the Take That star consigned three Banksy paintings at Sotheby’s in London including Girl With Balloon (2006, est £2m-£3m) which sold for £2.8m. Last month meanwhile, Williams Godrich selected works for the auction house’s Contemporary Curated series which included one of the pair’s own pieces (Beverly, est £15,000-£20,000). According to The Guardian, the painting sold to a private foundation in Central America, priced at £40,320 (the prices for the Black and White Paintings, to be sold privately, are undisclosed).
According to the Sotheby’s website, artists represented in Williams’ collection include Banksy, Peter Blake, Christopher Page and Morris Wade. Godrich says he collects works by artists such as Tracey Emin, Christopher Page, Jim Page Roberts and Jonas Wood.