Sylvester Stallone on Art, Movies and Playing Rocky Again; “There is nothing as gratifying as being one on one with a concept, with your thought and vision.”

Nov 7, 2013

Sylvester Stallone on Art, Movies and Playing Rocky Again



“Rambo Mind” 2012 by Sylvester Stallone

Sylvester Stallone has appeared in more than 60 films, but he’d give up his acting career if it interfered with his painting. “There is nothing as gratifying as being one on one with a concept, with your thought and vision. Movies are the work of a collective conscious. It takes 500-800 people on a movie to complete a vision. Painting is as close as a person can get to actually capturing the heat of the moment,” the actor told the Journal. For the first time, Stallone’s paintings are being exhibited in Russia in a kind of retrospective exhibition that spans 38 years. He calls Mark Rothko and Jean-Michel Basquiat influences, and has shifted in style from his early works, mostly created with a large palette knife and a spectrum of color, to his more recent canvases, which use more red, white and black, and are decidedly more abstract. The action hero phoned Speakeasy to talk about shifting from painting to sculpture, how his early film roles influenced his paintings, and confirmed to the Journal that he’s once again taking on the character of Rocky Balboa in Ryan Coogler’s “Creed.The Wall Street Journal: Ryan Coolger is coming off his debut film, “Fruitvale Station,” and diving into the canon of Rocky Balboa. Why’d you say yes?

Sylvester Stallone: I was very interested in the premise. It’s not “Rocky 7,” it’s not near that at all. Rocky is retired, kind of set adrift. He’s very lonely in his world. His life has gone by waiting for the inevitable. The grandson of most beloved friend died in his arms and he was visiting him and this relationship starts. This person comes from an entirely different culture side of the world, and something happens that’s incredibly dramatic and profound. This is a drama, not me getting in the ring.

But why reprise the role?

I thought this would be something very unique, to be able to take this character and go another generation with it and still have him be vital and relevant. Wow, that’s unique. I believe that the last film I did, “Expendables III” we took it to the max and I thought, there isn’t much further I can go with this. So I started to speak to the powers that be. I want to go back and do films like “Cop Land” and the early “Rocky”’s. I’m not giving up the action film but now it’s a suspense movie, it’s a bit more emotional.

Rocky has popped up as a subject of yours.

Characters I’ve played, they used to impact my paintings, like 80 percent of the time, and especially when I was doing an action film. At first I tried to paint the emotionality of characters. I tended to rely on colors and figures etched into the canvas with a pallet knife. My earlier subject matter is always about isolation going down long roads, transitioning into different spheres. It’s always about transition. In the 80s and 90s they took on a movie quality, it was almost an action painting, which is kind of a school of painting itself. Postmodern action paintings always looked for that explosive nature.

So you intended to have intimidating and confrontational tonalities?

Exactly. Then one day I started to paint more and more simplistic. Why am I doing this all of a sudden, going towards different styles. I asked my wife if it was any good, a painting I did, and she said it was “one of your better paintings, simpler in its subject matter but ten times more sophisticated.” It allows the viewer to interpret, to leave a lot to the imagination.

Why the transition into sculpture?

It’s somewhat experimental as everything I’ve done has been. I’m re-interpreting certain industry icons — like machinery and tools and actual gears. Things we take for credit that without them we are in the dark ages. Like if you remove the ball bearing from your life nothing moves. You glorify these objects and I’m taking them and magnifying them, it’s incredibly powerful. When elevated to a monumental status, they don’t look like common little objects to take for granted. They become epic signatures.


About bambooinnovator
Kee Koon Boon (“KB”) is the co-founder and director of HERO Investment Management which provides specialized fund management and investment advisory services to the ARCHEA Asia HERO Innovators Fund (, the only Asian SMID-cap tech-focused fund in the industry. KB is an internationally featured investor rooted in the principles of value investing for over a decade as a fund manager and analyst in the Asian capital markets who started his career at a boutique hedge fund in Singapore where he was with the firm since 2002 and was also part of the core investment committee in significantly outperforming the index in the 10-year-plus-old flagship Asian fund. He was also the portfolio manager for Asia-Pacific equities at Korea’s largest mutual fund company. Prior to setting up the H.E.R.O. Innovators Fund, KB was the Chief Investment Officer & CEO of a Singapore Registered Fund Management Company (RFMC) where he is responsible for listed Asian equity investments. KB had taught accounting at the Singapore Management University (SMU) as a faculty member and also pioneered the 15-week course on Accounting Fraud in Asia as an official module at SMU. KB remains grateful and honored to be invited by Singapore’s financial regulator Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to present to their top management team about implementing a world’s first fact-based forward-looking fraud detection framework to bring about benefits for the capital markets in Singapore and for the public and investment community. KB also served the community in sharing his insights in writing articles about value investing and corporate governance in the media that include Business Times, Straits Times, Jakarta Post, Manual of Ideas, Investopedia, TedXWallStreet. He had also presented in top investment, banking and finance conferences in America, Italy, Sydney, Cape Town, HK, China. He has trained CEOs, entrepreneurs, CFOs, management executives in business strategy & business model innovation in Singapore, HK and China.

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