Stars and Cars: Jimi Hendrix with His Corvette Stingray, Paul Newman with His Racing Datsun, Steve McQueen and the Bullit Mustang, and Bo Diddley with 1957 Chevy
Chris Osborne in front of her painting James Dean and 1947 Mercury
Artist Chris Osborne has had many associations with the celebrities she paints, such as Bo Diddley, Steve McQueen, Paul Newman, and Jimi Hendrix.
Bo Diddley and his '57 Chevy, by Chris Osborne
Chris Osborne developed her idea to paint portraits of celebrities with their cars after a 1988 photo shoot with Bo Diddley at a rehearsal studio in New York City. Because of her friendship with Deb Hastings, Bo Diddley’s bass player, Osborne had many opportunities to hang out with the band. Eventually Osborne asked Bo Diddley if she could take some photos of him for a painted portrait. “He sat on a couch, holding his guitar in various ways. The photos were terrific," she said. "As I browsed through them later I happened to read an article in a magazine that mentioned he had owned a 1957 Chevy back in the late 50's early 60's. He hauled the band equipment around in it as he toured in the early days. I was aware that the '57 Chevy was a very significant car in automotive design history and thought it would be fun to paint him with one. Bo was living in Florida at the time and I created the scene in reference to that.”
Steve McQueen & 1968 Mustang GT, by Chris Osborne
In 1972 , Chris Osborne shared a Malibu beach house with her college friend Herb Ritts who would later become a top fashion and celebrity photographer. Ritts had grown up next door to the McQueen's in Brentwood. One Sunday afternoon in Malibu, Ritts asked Osborne to take a long walk along the beach to visit friends up the coast. “It was one of those sunny Southern California days at the Pacific Ocean, a great day to walk barefoot in the sand, just gorgeous to behold for this New England girl. I’ll never forget approaching the house, knocking on the door, and Steve McQueen invited us in. Herb had kept it a surprise. Steve offered us a cocktail, and the men, along with young Chad (Steve’s son) went swimming, while Ali McGraw and I sat on the sand talking about art,” recalled Osborne.Continued on the next page