Chris Brown hosted an art show at NYC’s Opera Gallery on June 11 to raise money for his children’s charity — and he couldn’t have been more gracious or fan-friendly!
First of all, he was completely on time greeting his guests at the 8 p.m. opening, and unlike any number of A-listers that I’ve observed at events over the years, he actually looked happy and excited to be there.
Chris had donated several of his colorful, expressive painted canvases for the evening. All of the proceeds were going to the Symphonic Love Foundation, a charity Chris founded to fund music and arts programs for children. The paintings were selling from $2,500 to $10,000. The $10,000 canvas called “Hello Kitty,” was snapped up immediately.
I was impressed that Chris had no bodyguards or intrusive handlers in sight and throughout the evening mingled, chatted and cordially posed with every fan who asked for a photo.
His girlfriend Karrueche Tran was also there, and she is tiny in person and was wearing adorable — but equally tiny — navy patterned hot pants. And I can tell you that neither gave off an iota of attitude. Chris’ vibe was completely positive and humble.
But he was most excited when he saw and hugged his collaborator, established American contemporary artist Ron English, 46, who loves to mashup popular cultural imagery — like superheroes — in his work.
Chris gave him a gigantic hug. Ron told me that the two have created a limited edition line of collectible toys, including colorful astronaut dolls, that were on display at the gallery. Chris Brown had been a huge Ron English fan apparently, to the extent that he actually had images from Ron’s art tattooed on his body.
So I met Chris and I asked him about his Ron English tattoos and he told me he had three, including a tattoo of a painting of Ron’s son on his right bicep – which he showed me.
When I told Chris that I loved his art – which I did – he thanked me more than once for coming. And when I told him that it was terrific that he was donating his art to raise money for children’s programs, he touched his heart and thanked me again. Humble isn’t a word, that I usually use for celebrities that I’ve met in person, but Chris was disarmingly genuine.
Ron English explained to me that the reason that he and Chris had decided to create astronaut dolls was because they represented the experience of being a celebrity. “You’re shot up into the stratosphere by fame, it kind of takes you up out of this world, but then when you get there, you’re alone, just like an astronaut in space,” he said. “You’re isolated.”
Hmm! I got that. Chris was expressing his feelings – he was gifted but also isolated by his celebrity status.
His paintings on the other hand were exuberant and poked fun at himself. In the painting “Too Many Parties,” Chris’ heavy hangover is clear in his red head, glazed over eyes and headache.
Ron said that when he first met Chris he had absolutely no idea of who Chris was. He designed Chris’ striking album cover for F.A.M.E., but he joked that he got fame but not fortune.
Well, Chris may have both now but I still feel like he’s trying to prove himself creatively with his art. I don’t think he feels for many reasons like he has “arrived” yet. But that’s okay, it’s clearly keeping him real.
What do you think Hollywoodlifers? Take a look at our party pics and photos of Chris’ art below! Tell me do you think Chris feels like he still needs to prove himself.
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