Stephen Fry selects paints & art materials as Desert Island Discs castaway luxury

Stephen Fry and Vincent van Gogh

Stephen Fry chooses canvases & paints for Desert Island castaway luxury

Stephen Fry book signing by vpjayant via flickr
Stephen Fry book signing by vpjayant via flickr

The long-running BBC Radio 4 programme, Desert Island Discs – and its current presenter Kirsty Young, have secured Norfolk and national treasure Stephen Fry, for a second time, to quiz him on his castaway music, literature and luxury choices. One of his biggest regrets, it turns out, is that he feels that he cannot dance or paint, and rather than take a dance teacher as his luxury item he’s opted for the easel life of a marooned and abandoned artist.

After choosing T.S. Elliot’s Four Quartets, alongside the supplied Bible and Shakespeare, he opted to take as a luxury item on which to spend “all the time in the world”:

canvases, and easels, and watercolours and oils and acrylics, I think, and all the brushes and turpentine and linseed, that go with them, and possibly an instruction manual.” – Stephen Fry on BBC Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs

Stephen Fry’s love of art & artists

Fry admires art and respects artists, as revealed to Kirsty Young:

“Well it’s is a whole area of endeavour that I admire enormously, is art, yet I can’t paint.”

When younger, at the Groucho Club, Fry recalls meeting a young artist and being fascinated by his confidence.

“I can’t paint… except use words, use language, so that’s what I’ve poured all my joy into…I’m not an artist and I really respect artists. I can remember… Damien Hirst…he just has some strange gift in his head that allows him to look at one thing and one thing only and decide upon it and think about it, hard and not get distracted by what people think… But you can’t be an artist if you care about what other people think.”

Learn to Paint by watching other artists

Stephen Fry has given us such joy with his use of words and language. Perhaps, Stephen will get his chance to explore art in his home county of Norfolk. As James Colman and Will Buckley of Paint Out have said:

“There is no better way to learn how to paint than to be able to watch and talk to people actually painting. It is the opposite of watching paint dry.”

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