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"Stella Vine...was a protégée of the Stuckist movement" - Independent on Sunday article here


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Why isn't Stella Vine in The Triumph of Painting 2005?

Stella Vine is Stuckist artist 2001, Saatchi artist 2004
Second hand New Blood title

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Charles Saatchi the Stuckist here
Saatchi reported to OFT here

Stuckist background of Stella Vine here
"Stella Vine...was a protégée of the Stuckist movement" - Independent on Sunday article here

Stuckist demo at Triumph of Painting launch here


The following is from the Independent (21.1.05)
STELLA VINE, the former lap-dancer "discovered" last year by Charles Saatchi, is strangely absent from his new series of exhibitions. The three shows, entitled The Triumph of Painting, include work by no fewer than 56 artists - but not a sausage from Vine, who shot to fame in Saatchi's New Blood exhibition last year. It's particularly odd, since the new shows are supposed to demonstrate that "painting continues to be the most relevant and vital way artists choose to communicate". Vine with her painting Rachel, works almost exclusively in paint. None of Saatchi's spokesmen were available for comment on the matter yesterday. But some gossips reckon the grand fromage of Britart has ditched his latest protégée. "Vine left Saatchi with egg on his face last year, as it turned out she'd actually been 'discovered' by her ex-husband, Charles Thomson, the leader of the Stuckist movement," I'm told.


Charles Saatchi has 'discovered' a new artistic talent, whom he sees as "one of the art world’s stars of the future" (PA News). She is Stella Vine, 35 year old single mother and ex-stripper, who has painted a picture of Princess Diana with blood coming from her mouth and accompanying text "Hi Paul can you come over I'm really frightened" (referring to the Princess's butler).

This has been widely reported, as has the fact that this is the first painting she has ever sold (Saatchi bought it two weeks ago for £600). She is quoted in the Guardian (24.2.04) and elsewhere: "I didn't think anyone really liked what I was doing." The impression given is of someone who has worked in isolation and that Saatchi is the first person to spot her talent.

The Evening Standard and the Telegraph mention that she was married to Charles Thomson, Co-founder of the Stuckists, but, says the Telegraph, "she claims she never shared his views."

The facts: Stella Vine attended a talk on Stuckism and Remodernism given by Billy Childish and Charles Thomson at the Salon des Arts, Kensington on 20 June 2000 (photos here). She went to the private view of the 'Vote Stuckist' show at Brixton's Fridge Gallery on 30 May 2001, after which she founded the Westminster Stuckists group. Charles Thomson invited her to put her paintings in the show and this was the first public exhibition of her work.

On 4 June she took part in the Stuckist demonstration in Trafalgar Square against the unveiling of Rachel Whiteread's 'Plinth'; was one of the helpers on General Election night (when Charles Thomson stood as a Stuckist in Islington against then Culture Minister, Chris Smith, on an anti-Britart ticket); and was highlighted as one of the two nominees for the Stuckists Real Turner Prize Show in the Rivington Gallery, Shoreditch, in October 2001. Shortly before the hanging, she withdrew from the show (leaving Joe Machine the clear winner) but not before her name had already appeared in listings information. She also had work in the Stuckist show in Paris at the Musee d`Adzac (19 Oct - 16 Nov 2001).

She married Stuckist Co-founder, Charles Thomson, in August 2001 in New York. They separated two months later and were divorced in August 2003.

Charles Thomson says, "For a few months of Stella's life at a crucial point in her artistic development, Stuckism played an important role, so it seems rather disingenuous of her to make out that she was never involved with it. The facts show otherwise. I exhibited her work and encouraged her because I could see she had talent and vision, but when I first met her she was lacking in confidence about it. She was painting portraits in a part-time art course. I saw some doodles in her diary with scenes from strip clubs. She didn't think anything of them, but I told her they were really strong and she should be painting those instead, which she started to do.

This new work was first shown at the Rivington Gallery during our wedding reception there. The freedom of expression she developed at that time has led directly to the painting of Diana which Saatchi bought. She was also massively affected by Billy Childish's work to the point of obsession (she bought two of them when she didn't have much money at all), and this was a major catalyst for her to paint in the first place, yet in a recent web interview where she lists her influences, she doesn't even mention him. I'm really pleased that's she's got this success and hope it continues for her. I found an email which I sent to her in 2001. It says, 'I believe in your artistic talent and think that you can do really well.' "(23.2.04)

A response from Stella Vine to some of the matters above can be found on her blogspot (entry for 24.2.04), including an apology to Rachel Whiteread, and the statement, "I still love Billy Childish & Tracey Emin, and... both of their tremendous works have had a huge impact on my life, and for that I am truly grateful." It seems curious then that Billy Childish was not listed amongst the 44 names under 'what influences and inspires you?' in a previous interview with her on the Transition Gallery website.

Stella sells three more paintings to Saatchi, including The Lodge and Tracey (no prizes for guessing which Tracey - wot about Billy!). See Cathy Lomax blogspot (entry 24.2.04) for more details, and how the press completely ignored the Diana painting for a month.


The title of the show 'New Blood', which is showcasing new talent at the Saatchi Gallery, is also not quite so new and is already in use in the Poetry Society's cafe in Covent Garden for an evening which showcases new talent.