Offering a hint of what James Franco and Sylvester Stallone may have talked about on the set of Homefront, besides the endless marketing potential of becoming a self-parody, Stallone recently launched an exhibition of his own paintings incorporating elements from his movies—such as the fact that he starred in some, so here, look at them. There are also other, more overt nods to his cinematic past in the exhibition currently taking place in St. Petersburg. For instance, visitors will find many self-portraits of his Rocky character, one of several film roles Stallone says in the exhibit’s introduction he abandoned his burgeoning painting career for, swapping one medium’s broad, sloppy strokes for another.
“I love art more than anything in the world except for my family,” Stallone tells The Guardian, adding, “I try to combine in my paintings cinematic feeling, emotional feeling, and sometimes actually writing on the page to combine all the different elements of communication,” by way of correctly identifying the three elements of communication.
And indeed, when the two kinds of feelings aren’t enough, even emotional feeling, Sylvester Stallone turns to Sylvester Stallone’s most proven means of communication—words—by scrawling phrases such as “Time, Billy Bob,” “The Arts Endure You Whores” directly onto his paintings. Indeed, on the same painting, a work that also contains the phrases, “Don’t Hurt The Pain, “Buy Time,” “Keep It Fresh,” and “Overdrive” in expression of, according to our own interpretation, Stallone’s very manifesto for living life, no matter what Billy Bob or you whores have to say about it. (“Don’t hurt the pain. The arts endure, you whores. Overdrive!” Stallone will often cry to his Expendables actors, as they smile and wait to be paid.)
But lest you think Stallone’s exhibition—which also reportedly features Andy Warhol’s photos of Stallone—is premised entirely on indulging his own celebrity, there’s also a painting titled “’Never Ever Land’… where Stallone paints the downfall of Michael Jackson, whose life is collapsing around him as he's dressed in his iconic 1990s military jacket, with strands of black hair draped over his face.” So there’s at least one other celebrity.
Unfortunately, not everyone believes that art should endure, even when it involves famous people—particularly if that famous person remains a sworn enemy of Mother Russia. Communist leaders have protested Stallone’s exhibition, with statements calling him “a soldier of [Ronald] Reagan” and “someone who kills countless Soviet soldiers and our Vietnamese comrades, a maniacal fighter against the so-called ‘red threat’” in those movies where he singlehandedly won all of those wars, then humiliated the Soviet Union’s best boxer just for kicks. While their protest hasn’t yet stopped the exhibit, there’s no doubt it’s given Sylvester Stallone plenty of emotional feelings to incorporate into his next painting—a rendering of his Rambo character, emblazoned with the words “Freedom Endures, You Whores.”