Pencil Portrait by Antonio Bosano.

Madonna Pencil Portrait
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The quality of the prints are at a much higher level compared to the image shown on the left.


A3 Pencil Print-Price £45.00-Purchase

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All Pencil Prints are printed on the finest Bockingford Somerset Velvet 255 gsm paper.

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Approaching her 50th birthday in 2008, Madonna showed no sign of slowing down. “I’m not going to be defined by my age. Why would any woman?,” she asked. “I’m not going to slow down, get off this ride, stay home and get fat. No way!” Then, making a face, she added, “I would never get fat.”

She wouldn’t be drawn on the subject of any surgery she might have had – “I’m not against plastic surgery, I’m just against discussing it” but she did reveal some aspects of her beauty and fitness regimes.

“If you want to know how I look like I do, it’s diet and exercise and being constantly careful,” she said. “I swear by oxygen facials, I’m obsessive about staying out of the sun. I don’t drink much and drugs are out.” The real secret to her success, she felt, was self-discipline. “There are no tricks. Tricks don’t work. Discipline does.”

She once famously informed a reporter that; “If you don’t like my attitude then you can fuck off!”. The problem with her private life is that given enough time, a multitude of men have resolved to follow her wishes. Being a famous, headstrong, opinionated woman has therefore, seemingly offered no guarantee of personal happiness.

Interviewed on “The Jonathan Ross Show” in March 2015, the poor woman once again again demonstrated the pitfalls of living inside a goldfish bowl, when she declared her relationship with Warren Beatty had not endured because he had been the ‘right person at the wrong time.’ Unfortunately, she still hasn’t managed to work out an inescapable if unpalatable fact of life; namely that ‘the people we meet at the wrong time are actually just the wrong people.’

You never meet the right people at the wrong time because the right people are timeless. The right people make you want to throw away the plans you originally had for one and follow them into the hazy, unknown future without a glance backwards. The right people don’t make you hmm and haw about whether or not you want to be with them; you just know. You know that any adventure you had originally planned out for your future isn’t going to be half as incredible as the adventures you could have by their side. That no matter what you thought you wanted before, this is better. Everything is better since they came along.

When you are with the right person, time falls away. You don’t worry about fitting them into your complicated schedule, because they become a part of that schedule. They become the backbone of it. Your happiness becomes your priority and so long as they are contributing to it, you can work around the rest.

We make the time to let them into our lives, and that kind of timing is always right.

Intuition also plays a huge part if you trust in it. I have known people who just ‘didn’t add up;’ individuals that consistently left me with a feeling akin to the earliest sensation of a violent stomach upset, without the inevitable vomiting. I have also known the temptation to ignore my intuition, yet it remains the most infallible tool I possess. Turmoil comes from the unknowing. Once I have discovered all the disconcerting facts I need to know about a person, then I have parked the experience for ever. Wasting time constantly reflecting on past relationships is akin to a mistrust of one’s powers of deductive reasoning. Madonna didn’t cement her relationship with Beatty because she had no firm emotional conviction in the union, and was certainly unprepared to compromise on her career. Twenty five years on, and little appears to have changed in her priorities.

She will remain, I suspect, an unfulfilled woman in her personal life, despite her obvious commitment to motherhood.

Musically, and for millions of non believers, it seems incomprehensible that a singer of such limited capabilities could have achieved the level of record sales and pre-eminence within the business that she has over the last thirty years. Nevertheless, according to the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), Madonna is the best-selling female rock artist of the 20th century and the second top-selling female albums artist in the United States, with 64.5 million certified albums. In 2008, Billboard ranked her at number two, behind only The Beatles, on the Billboard Hot 100 All-Time Top Artists, making her the most successful solo artist in the history of the chart. She was also inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in the same year.

I must confess to owning only a couple of her albums and they are rarely played so for me she is something of an enigma, as the enormity of her fame rests uncomfortably with my perception of her. My daughters showed little interest in her recorded output when they were younger and their friends offered little insight into her broad appeal. Perhaps I was unduly influenced by comments made by George Harrison during the filming of “Shanghai Surprise,” his movie production company’s ‘joker in the pack’ when he alluded to her behaviours on and off set by saying: “The problem with Madonna is that she’s someone who thinks she’s famous!” Therefore, in preparing any commentary on this 20th century phenomenon it’s down to me to step back from my preconceived notions and to muster as much objectivity as I can.

The final track on her 2012 album MDNA is a song called ‘Falling Free’ which finally breaks the mould of youth-focused electro dance pop confectionary, a cycle she has appeared unable to discard for years. I was surprised by the recording; with a cascading, beatless melody and poetic, free form lyrics, Madonna’s pure, dreamy vocal has her declaring herself “free to fail.” It is a song about letting go, by a woman who, for most of the time, appears to be holding on very tightly indeed. Although out of character with the rest of the album, it suggests that Madonna may actually have musical and emotional places to explore when she eventually tires of setting the pop pace. For a woman in her mid fifties it’s about time and perhaps more than anything else, explains my musical resentment towards her. Unless she seriously starts exploring this new direction, her legacy won’t amount to much. Whether she cares that much once she’s gone is another matter.

Recommended listening

Ray of light (1998)

Her first album after motherhood and one in which Madonna and producer William Orbit showed the world that electronica doesn’t have to be cold. Songs like the title track and “Nothing Really Matters” are filled with warmth and wonder. ‘Ray’ also features her best singing ever.

The album has been credited for bringing electronic music onto the mainstream pop radar. The genre has now ascended from its underground status to wild popularity in the early 21st century and yet for millions does little but inspire a sense of agitation when subjected to any prolonged listening. The jury remains out.

Recommended viewing

Evita (1996)

Against many expectations including my own, the ‘Material Girl’ really pulled things off with this 129 minute opus.

Eva Duarte, known affectionately as Evita, was an actress who married Colonel Juan Perón and became First Lady of Argentina. She went on to oversee the ministries of labour, social welfare and health, eventually becoming her husband’s vice-president. He gave her the title of Spiritual Leader of the Nation in 1952, a few months before her death from cancer at the age of just 33.

Squinting is recommended for the first half hour to avoid abundant disbelief at the sight of a 38 year old pop star portraying a fifteen year old but if you can mentally park this visual absurdity and the array of Argentinian pictorial clichés the movie works exceedingly well.

Recommended reading

Madonna Style (Carol Clerk with Stacey Appel) 2012

One of those sumptuous coffee table books that satisfies on both literary and photographic counts. This updated edition now includes details of Madonna’s new 2012 album and subsequent World Tour, her advertising campaigns for Louis Vuitton and Dolce & Gabbana, her clothing lines for H&M and her own Material Girl label as well as her Hard Candy album and videos for Celebration, Four Minutes and Beat Goes On. Here is a dazzling exploration of a unique pop-culture goddess. How does she do it? The answer comes in the form of this sumptuous collection of Madonna’s style effects. Every visual aspect of Madonna is shown including her wildly inventive catalogue of personae that she and her style army have conjured over the years. The result is an absolutely stunning one-woman fashion show that spans nearly half a century.