American artist Chuck Connelly has paid tribute to the late Cranberries singer Dolores O’Riordan with a portrait series following her shock death.
The 63-year-old painter, who has been a recluse for more than 25 years, started on his latest artwork shortly after O’Riordan’s sudden death in January in a London hotel.
Connelly has admitted not knowing who the late singer was until he looked up her name after hearing the news of her death and recognized the hit song Zombie.
He has dubbed his portrait series on her ‘Valentine to somebody I never knew’.
American artist Chuck Connelly, who has been a recluse for more than 25 years, started on his latest artwork shortly after Dolores O’Riordan’s sudden death in January in a London hotel
‘When I heard the song Zombie I recognized it but that was about all I knew of it. I was immediately taken by her beauty and her beautiful voice that I saw in the video. I remembered hearing the song back in the 90s when it came,’ he said.
‘At the very first vision of her I felt a deep connection, this beautiful spirit who is tiny of stature but whose voice touch my soul like a sledgehammer.’
‘I felt compelled to paint her so as in someway to connect with her. One painting was not enough. Three paintings may not be enough as I feel none of them look like her, not that it matters.
‘It’s just a feeling I’m trying to capture and I’ve only captured a small part of her.’
Connelly was once considered one of America’s biggest names in art and sold more than a million dollars worth of his work back in the 1980s.
Connelly has admitted not knowing who the late singer was until he looked up her name after hearing the news of her death and recognized the hit song Zombie
Connelly painted three portraits of Dolores O’Riordan in a series he dubbed: ‘Valentine to somebody I never knew’
I felt compelled to paint her so as in someway to connect with her, said Connelly of the late singer
His career hit the skids in the early 1990s when he fell out with major art dealers including Charles Saatchi and then publicly panned a film made about him by Martin Scorsese.
He reemerged briefly from his recluse state in 2016 when he unveiled three haunting new oil on canvas works of David Bowie, which he painted after his death.
The Bowie portrait came 33 years after the singer visited Connelly in his New York art studio.
‘I’ve always liked David,’ Connelly told the DailyMail.com at the time.
‘I feel like his death means the end of an age is coming – the end of creativity, of creative freedom. And the whole punk rock glam sensibility.’
Connelly revealed then that he has a tendency to paint people after they die, including family members.
After leaving New York some years ago, the artist made a home for himself in a rambling Victorian detached Philadelphia house with a cat and 3,000 of his canvases.
A documentary about Connelly is currently in the making by filmmaker Ben Schwarz.
‘The objective of the documentary was to simply chronicle a brilliant painter as he let go of all his past mistakes and failures’, said Schwarz.
O’Riordan died suddenly in January in a London hotel. The Cranberries singer was aged 46
‘I will never forgot her’, said Connelly who was touched by the passion and the angelic voice of the Cranberries singer