Vettriano plans new painting

Shan Ross

HE IS one of the world’s top- selling artists and they are a small indie band from his home town of Kirkcaldy in Fife. But now Jack Vettriano, whose works sell to celebrities worldwide, has revealed he is working on a painting inspired by a love song Saint Jude’s Infirmary sent him when he was suffering from a broken heart.

Speaking about the track Marked Heart, which affected him so deeply, the artist said: “It’s a really brilliant song. At my age, there are very few songs and very little music which can do for me what that song did. You get into a sort of time warp with Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen.

“But this song, it’s all about the pain we feel falling in and out of love, the desire and then the greater pain when your heart gets broken.

“I was, I confess, going through something of that situation when I heard it. I am always in a bit of a state that way; it’s the way I am. But my saving grace is that I work better when in emotional turmoil. I’m going to do a painting to match this song because it deserves it.”

The lyrics that impressed Vettriano were – “It’s red and its bloody, clenched tight like a fist / love is tattooed on its knuckle, cut here along its wrist. And it’s lonely and strong and still it beats on / though I know not why, not why now your love is gone.

“Sometimes it feels it echoes like a ghost / sometimes I can’t believe that I should play host to something as useless as a heart / to something so redundant since we did part.”

Band member Grant Campbell wrote the lyrics to Goodbye Jack Vettriano, a song that featured on the band’s debut album, when he was feeling homesick in a bar in Rotterdam and saw a Vettriano print on the wall. The band sent the song to the artist asking if he would appear in a video they were making for BBC Scotland’s The Music Show programme, to be broadcast next Sunday.

“I admire the romantic ideal Jack conveys in his pictures; it is unabashed. It’s glamorous and he’s not afraid to show what emotions he’s experiencing,” Mr Campbell said.

Vettriano and the author Ian Rankin, a fellow Fifer, appear in the video, recreating scenes from two of the artist’s most famous paintings – The Singing Butler and Elegy for A Dead Admiral.

But rather than just making a cameo appearance in the video – filmed on Portobello Beach in Edinburgh – Vettriano was also thinking of a painting inspired by words rather than images.

Mark Francis, another band member, said: “We are in state of disbelief that we’ve got Jack Vettriano helping us like this. It is just so absolutely fantastic.”

Art experts said last night that the venture would attract a lot of attention. Selina Skipwith, keeper of the Fleming Collection, said: “A new Vettriano painting based on music is not an everyday occurrence. Collaborations between artists and musicians benefit everyone in the process and have a longstanding tradition, though this is the first I’ve heard of Vettriano doing this.”

Paul Howard, a senior auctioneer at Edinburgh-based Shapes, the first firm in the UK to sell a Vettriano painting, 11 years ago, said: “The painting will have a certain cachet and its interesting and emotive story will spark someone’s interest.

“Any work which is well- publicised like this will make the public more aware of it. This will be of great benefit should it come up for sale. It’s also good he’s promoting a local band.”

Shapes sold Vettriano’s Dance me to the end of Love for £346,000 at auction in March. The Singing Butler sold for £750,000 last year – breaking all records for a Scottish painting.

Vettriano’s celebrity customers include Sir Alex Ferguson, Madonna and Tim Rice.

Saint Jude’s Infirmary was originally formed in Kirkcaldy and consisted of song-writing twins Ashley and Grant Campbell, and their cousin Emma-Jane. They have since joined forces with Mark Francis and Alun Thomas and released their first album Happy Healthy Lucky Month on SL Records.

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