VINE IS STUCKIST ARTIST 2001,
SAATCHI ARTIST 2004
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
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
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."
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).
married Stuckist Co-founder, Charles Thomson, in August 2001
in New York. They separated two months later and were divorced
in August 2003.
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)
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.
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.