Bachardy, Don. “Stars in My Eyes”, University of Wisconsin Press, 2011.
Don Bachardy is famous in his own right and deservedly so. He was lover to the late Christopher Isherwood but his artwork also hangs in the Metropolitan Museum in New York and it the London National Portrait Gallery. His new book is a compilation of 33 famous personalities and the drawings he did of them along with his own personal musings. His comments are laced with wit and candid and full of detail. We learn of his creative process but he excels when he tells us of the banter between artist and subject. The entries are from the 70’s and 80’s and the book combines art with anecdote.
For me the book is a guilty pleasure much like a banana split after an eleven course meal. I found reading the book was much like having a conversation with someone who knew “everyone” quite intimately. Aside from that, the art is spectacular. The book is both revealing and entertaining. His observations are keen and sharp like a dagger. Bachardy is as good a writer as an artist Some of the personalities we meet are Dame Maggie Smith, Bette Davis, Robert Mapplethorpe, Iris Murdoch, Aaron Copeland and Jerry Brown to name a few. Ginger Rogers has never been so beautiful and I wanted Ruby Keeler to break into dance. Jack Nicholson is, well, Jack Nicholson and Charlotte Rampling stole my heart once again.
The book is a treasure and not only a great read but a wonderful conversation piece.