"[A] lot of my best friends are atheists. It's lukewarm believers that drive me out of the church."
October 01, 2003
U2 singer Bono is one of the world's richest musicians and, as a campaigner, can request an audience with the likes of U.S. president George Bush and the Pope.
But today he reveals a hidden talent: painting.
The Irishman has lent his support to a new recording of the Prokofiev masterpiece Peter and the Wolf by illustrating the accompanying 64-page book. The book and new album is being launched in Dublin later today, alongside Bono's original paintings, which will be auctioned by Christie's in St James's next month. All profits from the new Peter and the Wolf will go to the Irish Hospice Foundation, which includes the Dublin hospice that helped care for Bono's father before his death from cancer two years ago.
The star is determinedly modest about his newly revealed painting skills, insisting: "I'm not a painter -- I am a fan of painters."
But he has been drawing and painting for years, and particularly admires the work of Keith Haring and Jean-Michel Basquiat, as well as Brit Art's Chris Ofili and Damien Hirst.
Bono's public painting debut has come about, most of all, because of the cause it supports. He said: "Those people are kind of angels. They escort you to the door of your death; they are like midwives for delivery into your next life."
During the vigil over his father, Bono also began to draw to pass time.
He said: "As I took my turn keeping watch over my old man's last days, I used blue and black Biros to draw him and his last room, medical equipment, tubes, wires et cetera. I did it for myself, it kept me thinking about the man who gave me my voice -- he was a beautiful tenor."
Bono, 43, created the paintings for the book -- some of which are up to 25 ft. across -- with help from his two eldest children, Jordan, 14, and 12-year-old Eve.
The art will go on show at Christie's on King Street SW1 between 6 and 8 October. The book is about to be released in Britain by Bloomsbury.
© 2003 Associated New Media.