UK exhibit asks stars: "What are you like?"

Fri Sep 12, 2008 11:42am EDT
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By Neal Parsons

LONDON (Reuters Life!) - If you were asked to pick eight things to describe yourself, what would you choose?

Music fans all know of Eric Clapton's love of guitar, but have they heard of his fondness for fishing? It may come as no surprise that fashion designer Paul Smith describes himself through clothing, but do fashionistas know his favorite animal is the rabbit?

These are just some of the enlightening details revealed by a new exhibition, entitled "What Are You Like? Self Revealing Artworks by People in the Public Eye", which opened in London this week at the Dulwich Picture Gallery.

Curated by Quentin Blake, illustrator for Roald Dahl, and novelist Claudia Zeff, the collection of 45 illustrations also includes entries by musician Brian Eno, novelist Phillip Pullman, and former BBC news reader Anna Ford, as well an entry from Blake himself.

The collection is exhibited anonymously, giving budding sleuths the chance to deduce from the characteristics in the pictures who has drawn what.

"The idea came when Quentin and I discovered a Victorian watercolor, which was eight images in a grid, entitled 'what are you like?'," Claudia Zeff said. "And I thought that title had a certain contemporary resonance to it."

Zeff said that discovery set them off looking for people who could express themselves visually, but weren't necessarily illustrators and artists.

"We wanted people in the public eye who have been to art school, but it's not an exercise in celebrity squiggles," she said. "We made it clear that they could use whatever medium they wanted."   Continued...