Posh, Kate and Amy get the Pop Art treatment

In the early 1960s, Gerald Laing became famous for his Pop Art pictures of Brigitte Bardot and Anna Karina. Four decades on, he has once again taken celebrity as his subject in a series of paintings of Amy Winehouse, Kate Moss and Victoria Beckham.

As with his early works, Laing's new paintings are based on "perfect" images of the stars from newspapers and magazines. It marks a shift from his recent work in which he used the medium of Pop Art to express horror at the conflict in Iraq and the images of torture from Abu Ghraib prison.

The portrait of Winehouse shows the troubled singer standing on a red carpet kissing her husband, Blake Fielder-Civil. It is entitled The Kiss, because Laing felt the pose resembled that in Auguste Rodin's sculpture of the same name.

While The Kiss is unmistakeably Winehouse, the painting of Kate Moss is far more abstract, showing a woman in a bikini with a flesh coloured sphere as a head, which recalls Laing's image of Bardot, in which a pink circle surrounds her face, as well as Pablo Picasso's Les Demoiselles d'Avignon.

The painting of Victoria Beckham is also recognisably the Spice Girl, wearing a short blonde crop, sunglasses and a strappy sun dress.

Laing said: "The first paintings I did were of similar people at a different time in history. This is old territory but new subject matter."

He added: "There's so much about [Winehouse] that's fascinating. She's got massive talent and a very interesting personality. She's got quite a self-destructive streak and I find that interesting. We've all been self destructive at some point in our lives. It's like a kick in the face for mortality. It's a position that many very talented people have taken.

"Then there's her extraordinary body and clothes and her hair. It was something that I really wanted to capture."

With Moss, Laing got into a "visual riff, thinking about what I'd read and heard about her". He added: "It's for me amazingly sensual." The painting of Beckham is more figurative and formal.

The half-tone areas of black dots on a white background in Laing's paintings convey moral, humanistic issues, whereas the areas of flat colour represent more abstract qualities, he said.

He is now working on another painting of Winehouse, taken from a media image of her sitting with acolytes drinking champagne at an awards ceremony, which he is re-imagining as Rembrandt's Belshazzar's Feast.

He is also keen to turn his gaze on to some of the men in contemporary celebrity culture, so a painting of Pete Doherty may not be far off.

"I think an artist should be relevant," said Laing. "It's extraordinary the difference between the art press and real life. I always try to operate in real life."

Olivia Connolly, the director of the Ocontemporary gallery in Brighton which represents Laing, said: "The paintings are getting an absolutely phenomenal response. People are talking about Amy as Gerald's new Bardot. It's such a pop culture image. There are so many people trying to emulate Pop Art, but Gerald still has that lightness of touch. He's just as contemporary as he ever was."

Born in 1936 in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Laing served as an officer in the Royal Northumberland Fusiliers, before attending St Martin's School of Art. In the 1960s, he lived and worked in New York, but by 1969, disillusioned with America after the assassinations of John F Kennedy and Martin Luther King and the Vietnam War, he returned to the UK, where he settled in Scotland and devoted the next 30 years to sculpture.

In 2003, the "shock and awe" invasion of Iraq inspired Laing to return to Pop Art, using bold colours to create chilling images of the "war on terror".

Early in his career, many of Laing's paintings were quickly sold and disappeared from view he sold the Bardot painting to a fellow art student for 50. Now, he is keen to show his new work as widely as possible. Limited edition prints of each of the celebrity portraits are on sale at around 1,000 each.

Arts and Entertainment
Above the hat of the toy gibbon, artist Mark Roscoe included a ‘ghost of a bird’ and a hidden message
art
Arts and Entertainment
Alien: Resurrection, Sigourney Weaver, Winona Ryder
film
Arts and Entertainment
Russell Tovey, Myanna Buring and Julian Rhind Tutt star in Banished

TV reviewGrace Dent: Jimmy McGovern's new drama sheds light on sex slavery in the colonies

Arts and Entertainment
Australia's Eurovision contestant and former Australian Idol winner Guy Sebastian

Eurovision 2015Australian Idol winner unveiled as representative Down Under

Arts and Entertainment
Larry David and Rosie Perez in ‘Fish in the Dark’
theatreReview: Had Fish in the Dark been penned by a civilian it would have barely got a reading, let alone £10m advance sales
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
Attenborough with the primates
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Former Communards frontman Jimmy Somerville
music
Arts and Entertainment
Secrets of JK Rowling's Harry Potter workings have been revealed in a new bibliography
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
Fearne Cotton is leaving Radio 1 after a decade
radio The popular DJ is leaving for 'family and new adventures'
Arts and Entertainment
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
Public Service Broadcasting are going it alone
music
Arts and Entertainment
Eddie Redmayne as transgender artist Lili Elbe in The Danish Girl
filmFirst look at Oscar winner as transgender artist
Arts and Entertainment
Season three of 'House of Cards' will be returning later this month
TV reviewHouse of Cards returns to Netflix
Arts and Entertainment
Harrison Ford will play Rick Deckard once again for the Blade Runner sequel
film review
Arts and Entertainment
The modern Thunderbirds: L-R, Scott, Virgil, Alan, Gordon and John in front of their home, the exotic Tracy Island
TV
Arts and Entertainment
Natural beauty: Aidan Turner stars in the new series of Poldark
TV
Arts and Entertainment
Taylor Swift won Best International Solo Female (Getty)

Brits 2015
Arts and Entertainment
Shining star: Maika Monroe, with Jake Weary, in ‘It Follows’
film review
Arts and Entertainment

Brits 2015
Arts and Entertainment
Paloma Faith arrives at the Brit Awards (Getty)

Brits 2015
Arts and Entertainment
Anne Boleyn's beheading in BBC Two's Wolf Hall

TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Follow every rainbow: Julie Andrews in 'The Sound of Music'
film Elizabeth Von Trapp reveals why the musical is so timeless
Arts and Entertainment
Bytes, camera, action: Leehom Wang in ‘Blackhat’
film
Arts and Entertainment
The Libertines will headline this year's festival
music
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Dean Anderson in the original TV series, which ran for seven seasons from 1985-1992
tv
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Homeless Veterans campaign: Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after £300,000 gift from Lloyds Bank

    Homeless Veterans campaign

    Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after huge gift from Lloyds Bank
    Flight MH370 a year on: Lost without a trace – but the search goes on

    Lost without a trace

    But, a year on, the search continues for Flight MH370
    Germany's spymasters left red-faced after thieves break into brand new secret service HQ and steal taps

    Germany's spy HQ springs a leak

    Thieves break into new €1.5bn complex... to steal taps
    International Women's Day 2015: Celebrating the whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

    Whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

    Simone de Beauvoir's seminal feminist polemic, 'The Second Sex', has been published in short-form for International Women's Day
    Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

    Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

    Why would I want to employ someone I’d be happy to have as my boss, asks Simon Kelner
    Confessions of a planespotter: With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent

    Confessions of a planespotter

    With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent. Sam Masters explains the appeal
    Russia's gulag museum 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities

    Russia's gulag museum

    Ministry of Culture-run site 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities
    The big fresh food con: Alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay

    The big fresh food con

    Joanna Blythman reveals the alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay
    Virginia Ironside was my landlady: What is it like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7?

    Virginia Ironside was my landlady

    Tim Willis reveals what it's like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7
    Paris Fashion Week 2015: The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp

    Paris Fashion Week 2015

    The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp
    8 best workout DVDs

    8 best workout DVDs

    If your 'New Year new you' regime hasn’t lasted beyond February, why not try working out from home?
    Paul Scholes column: I don't believe Jonny Evans was spitting at Papiss Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible

    Paul Scholes column

    I don't believe Evans was spitting at Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible
    Miguel Layun interview: From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

    From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

    Miguel Layun is a star in Mexico where he was criticised for leaving to join Watford. But he says he sees the bigger picture
    Frank Warren column: Amir Khan ready to meet winner of Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao

    Khan ready to meet winner of Mayweather v Pacquiao

    The Bolton fighter is unlikely to take on Kell Brook with two superstar opponents on the horizon, says Frank Warren
    War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

    Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

    Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable