Long before Sylvester Stallone gained notoriety for his blockbuster action movies like Rocky and Rambo, he was a talented painter whose art is now on show at the Osthaus Museum in Hagen, Germany. The exhibition, titled Sylvester Stallone: The Magic of Being, debuted on December 4th and will be on display through February 20, 2022.
Sylvester Stallone started painting at an early age. He was inspired by the experimental work of action painters like Jackson Pollack and Willem de Kooning, whose influence is seen in some of his earlier work which he signed as Mike Stallone. It was only when these pieces didn’t sell that the action star ventured into the world of writing and acting.
Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter about his art exhibition, he said it’s an amazing honor to have his work on display alongside some of the greatest artists in the world. While the world of art and galleries is still very new to him the actor said it’s a lot less stressful than the movie business. “You know, maybe I should have been a painter,” Sylvester Stallone told the publication. “It sure would have meant a lot less stress.”
Interestingly, there are a few links between Sylvester Stallone’s acting and his paintings. When he had a story idea for a never-say-die protagonist in 1975, he decided to create a visual of the character on a canvas. But he didn’t use a brush because this man was forged by the hardships of life. Instead, he carved the image on the canvas with a screwdriver.
“If he looked interesting visually, then I think that he would translate through to literature and then cinema,” the actor said about the piece called Finding Rocky. “I know it sounds ambitious, but that was the genesis of Rocky.” Sylvester Stallone famously went on to complete a 90-page script in three-and-a-half days about the poor Italian American boxer who gets a shot at becoming world heavyweight champion.
Released in 1976, the small-budget film catapulted Sylvester Stallone to superstardom which resulted in a slew of sequels. Rocky’s success was followed up by another multi-sequel project that Stallone had originally co-written – Rambo: First Blood. Released in 1982, the story followed John Rambo, a troubled and misunderstood Vietnam War veteran, who struggles to adapt to regular life due to his post-traumatic stress disorder. His success in Hollywood quickly overshadowed his painting talents.
Despite the delayed recognition of his artistic prowess, the actor has no plans to give up his day job. The Expendables 4 is currently in production, with a cast that includes Sylvester Stallone, Andy Garcia, 50 Cent, Tony Jaa, Iko Uwais, and Megan Fox. The returning cast members from previous films include Jason Statham, Dolph Lundgren, and Randy Couture.
Sylvester Stallone has also released the director’s cut of Rocky IV, titled Rocky vs. Drago. The film was released in theaters on November 11th and is currently available on-demand. According to Deadline, the action star added 40 minutes of never-before-seen footage to the 1985 film made during the U.S. Cold War with the Soviet Union. Sylvester Stallone wrote, directed, and starred in the film.