If politics is show business for ugly people, where does art fit in? Artists attractive enough to play themselves in biopics are few and far between; only Lucian Freud and Pauline Boty come to mind. Even the sexy ones—Picasso, Dalí, Warhol—look like they’ve tarried too long by the trick-or-treat masks. It comes as some surprise, then, to meet the young English painter Roxana Halls.
Remember that Vanity Fair cover featuring k.d. lang and Cindy Crawford? Halls, who abandoned formal art training at the age of 19 and is largely self-taught, looks like the offspring those two had in a parallel universe. (A mutual friend says, “No—she looks like the baby of Bowie and Nigella.”) Seeing Halls beside her paintings at private viewings, posing for the cameras of adoring fans, it’s easy to get the distinct impression that one may have strayed into the presence of one of the great characters of the age and is witnessing the thrilling spectacle of a genius just warming up.