By David Saunders | UPDATED: 11:28, 02 April 2020
BRIT Lincoln Townley is to auction an ICON worth £100,000 to fund relief efforts to combat the sociological effects of the coronavirus pandemic.
The UK’s leading figurative artist has vowed to launch the appeal with his art and is inviting others in the world of entertainment and business to follow his lead.
The London-born BAFTA resident artist, globally recognised for his dramatic figurative work and ICONS collection, has donated the one metre square ICON pop art style image of Dame Vera Lynn to the coronavirus relief fund.
Dame Vera Lynn used her 103rd birthday to call on the British public to find “moments of joy” during these “hard times”.
The London-born singer marked the special occasion with a new video for her wartime classic We’ll Meet Again.
It features archive footage of her performing the anthem alongside new visuals, and words tackling current themes such as the Covid-19 outbreak. In the video, she urged the nation to “keep smiling and keep singing”.
Dame Vera said in a voiceover: “We are facing a very challenging time at the moment, and I know many people are worried about the future. “I’m greatly encouraged that despite these struggles, we have seen people joining together. “Music is so good for the soul, and during these hard times we must all help each other to find moments of joy.”
Lincoln said: “Dame Vera Lynn has inspired so much hope over the years so I decided to create an ICON of her to honour her, then and now, as a symbol of hope. Even now at the age of 103 years-old she still inspires the country to pull together, to dig deep and find the strength to get through these times.
Dame Vera is an incredible woman and I’m so excited to be donating this £100,000 ICON portrait to raise funds to help others who are struggling. I would like to think that many more established artists in the UK and globally will dig deep and create works which will help raise money for such a worthy charity.”
The funds raised are hoped to assist with the most needy in society after the coronavirus has had a devastating effect on many industries, in particular hospitality in an unprecedented global crisis.
A disaster relief fund has been launched to raise money for voluntary groups providing care and support for elderly and vulnerable people hit by the social and economic impact of the coronavirus and money raised from the art will go to this organisation.
Donations will be targeted at local charities supporting older people, particularly where they are confined to their homes and at risk of social isolation, as well as those supporting people with mental health issues, cancer and chronic disease.
Community organisations that support people on low and insecure incomes, such as food banks or groups that can supply school dinner replacements in disadvantaged communities where schools have been closed, are also expected to benefit.
The launch of the fund comes amid reports that vulnerable people are struggling to get vital food and medicine supplies because of panic-buying, and that many frontline charities are struggling to stay solvent and maintain services because of widespread cancellations of national and local fundraising events such as the London marathon.
The fund will provide a single collection point for public donations before distributing them “as quickly as possible” in the form of grants to frontline charities across the UK using the local expertise of a network of 46 regional community foundations.
The campaign is co-ordinated by the National Emergencies Trust (NET) charity, which was set up last year following the Grenfell Tower and Manchester Arena tragedies to co-ordinate disaster fundraising responses and provide a trusted channel for people who want to donate but who are unsure how to, or who to give to.
Modelling itself loosely on the Disasters Emergency Committee, which coordinates the UK charity aid fundraising response for major overseas humanitarian disasters, this will be the first time an initiative on this scale has been domestic-focused. No fundraising target has been set.
The chairman of the National Emergencies Trust, Lord Dannatt, said: “The outbreak of coronavirus is clearly both a global and national emergency. Many people are suffering, not just from ill health but also from the economic impact as well as the effects of social distancing and isolation.
“While there is much that government can and is doing, there is also a strong desire of the public to help others and there are local grassroots organisations that can provide vital support to people who need it. We will channel the money raised to those organisations so people who need it can get support as quickly as possible but also who will need these vital funds to continue to be there for the long haul.
“These are tough and uncertain times and we’re only asking those who can really afford to give to our appeal to do so. We will do our very best to channel the money raised to organisations where people who need it can get support as quickly as possible.”
Multi-millionaire Townley’s dramatic rise to fame in the global art market has seen him grow from eight years ago to today where his work sells for up to £1million.
Lincoln has also been commissioned to paint many of the world’s biggest ICONS including Charlie Sheen, Al Pacino, Sir Michael Caine and his original oil paintings of demons drawn from the unconscious mind, have been exhibited at major international galleries including the National Gallery and the Royal Academy of Arts in London, Los Angeles and the Brisbane Powerhouse.
The portraits of stars Lincoln has painted also include the annual BAFTA honourees, Dame Judi Dench, John Cleese, Kate Moss, Charlie Sheen, Russell Brand, Leonardo Di Caprio, Marlon Brando, Princess Diana, Mohammed Ali, David Bowie, Pele, Ronaldinho and many others.
Lincoln painted Sir Michael Caine and his wife Shakira, after presenting him the painting the legendary actor said: “There’s no doubt in my opinion that Lincoln is the next Andy Warhol.”
Last year Lincoln sold a diamond encrusted portrait of the late Princess Diana for a personal record-breaking £1million, beating his previous record of £510,000 set by his painting of Mohammed Ali. The Princess Diana painting, a huge two metre square oil and acrylic spray on linen, had over £100,000 worth of diamonds embedded into the canvas to give a spectacular finish.
The self taught artist has struggled against an established art market and is now collected across the world including America, Australia, the Middle East and Europe.
The internationally successful artist was last month also chosen for the fifth year in succession to paint the BAFTA honourees. The British Academy of Film and Television Arts honourees have included Kenneth Branagh, Matt Damon, Ava DuVernay, Claire Foy, film legend Dick Van Dyke, Jodie Foster, Ricky Gervais, Samuel L. Jackson, Felicity Jones, Ang Lee, and Ewan McGregor. The previous year he painted Orlando Bloom, James Corden, Harrison Ford, Sam Mendes, Amy Schumer and Meryl Streep.
James Nicholls, Managing Director and Curator of the Maddox Gallery, Mayfair, London, said: “In each generation it is a rare occurrence when an artist has the potential to become iconic, and it is our considered opinion that Lincoln Townley is such an extraordinary artist.
The British artist was relatively unknown four years ago, now he has become famous for creating the most vivid insight into producing electrifying portraits of Hollywood stars such as; Al Pacino, Dame Judi Dench, Gary Oldman, Sir John Hurt, Robert Downey Jr. Judi Dench, Russell Brand and Charlie Sheen.
“Sir Michael Caine recently described him as the new Andy Warhol, and others see a Francis Bacon-like quality in his work. The value of his work has risen 200% in the last two years alone.”
Find out more on the artists work at: www.lincolntownley.com.