Artists are inspired by, not obsessed with, Depp

05/23/2010 12:00 AM

08/08/2014 9:57 AM

Tara Walker wants one thing made clear: She likes Johnny Depp, but she's not obsessed or anything. The evidence is stacked against her, though, and it's hanging all over the walls of the Go Away Garage Gallery.

Walker, an art teacher at Northwest High School, is one of two local artists who contributed to an exhibit called "Here's Johnny," featuring 70 pieces depicting or inspired by actor Johnny Depp. Walker has created 42 watercolor, acrylic and ball-point pen images of Depp, and fellow artist Stacy Rink created 28.

The art is up at the Go Away Garage at 508 S. Commerce, and the artists will be at a Final Friday reception, complete with Depp-inspired refreshments, from 6 to 10 p.m. Friday.

"It's just for fun," Walker said with a laugh. "It's not like an addiction. It's not like I dream about him. I just think he's a really good actor."

The idea for the show was born when Walker was talking to Rink, a local artist (who's about to move to Las Vegas) who specializes in funky pieces such as bags, wall hangings and wallets.

She was working on a series of long, thin wallets, and Walker's husband suggested she decorate one with images from Depp's 1990 movie "Cry-Baby."

Rink suggested the pair put together an entire show focused on Depp, an actor they both admire.

"Partly why we find him interesting is because he is so different and unique as an actor. Ben Affleck has always been Ben Affleck. He looks the same and talks the same and everything is the same from movie to movie. But Johnny Depp is one of those guys who's pretty diverse."

Walker started working on her Depp-athon in September, and her many pieces feature images of Depp looking pensively out a window, Depp as Edward Scissorhands, Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow.

She has pictures of younger Johnny Depp and older Johnny Depp, goateed and clean-shaven, long-haired and short-haired.

Rink's pieces are a little more conceptual, taking inspiration from Depp and his career.

Working on the show has helped Walker locate her inner artist again, she said.

"Being a teacher, you never really get the respect from the art community because you're just a teacher. And being an art teacher, you never get the respect of the other teachers because, oh, it's just art," she said. "My whole life, I've felt caught in the middle."

She also wants her students to see that they can hold regular jobs and still be artists.

The Final Friday reception will include Depp-friendly snacks — a chocolate fountain representing "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory," and chocolates and hot chocolate representing his character's favorite drink in "Chocolat."

"It's silly but I wanted it to all tie in and be over the top, but be fun and not totally serious," Walker said. "It's movies, for crying out loud. It's entertainment. It's fun."

If you go

'Here's Johnny' — a johnny Depp art show

What: A collection of 70 pieces featuring or inspired by actor Johnny Depp, created by local artists Tara Walker and Stacy Rink

Where: Go Away Garage Gallery, 508 S. Commerce

When: The show is up now. A Final Friday reception will take place from 6 to 10 p.m. on Friday.

How much: Admission is free.

About Denise Neil

Denise has been an Eagle reporter since 1997. She writes about pop culture on Sundays, reviews restaurants on Fridays and blogs at Dining with Denise. Previously, she worked for the Chattanooga Times and graduated with a journalism degree from the University of Kansas.

Contact Denise at 316-268-6327 or by e-mailing

Follow Denise on Twitter: @DeniseNeil

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