Updated: Saturday, 7th December 2019 @ 1:02pm

He almost didn't do it... but he did: Artist reveals dilemma over TATTOOED Princess Diana portrait

He almost didn't do it... but he did: Artist reveals dilemma over TATTOOED Princess Diana portrait

| By Josh Willacy

An artist's ‘stroke of genius’ could be about to cause a stir as a portrait of Princess Diana covered in tattoos is set to be unveiled in Manchester.

Artist JJ Adams' picture, that’s sure to ‘draw’ the attention of people, depicts Diana Princess of Wales completely covered in tattoos.

The contentious art work will be on show at an exhibition held at the Generation Gallery this Thursday along with art of Manchester's Town Hall covered in graffiti.

Adams revealed to MM that he is already expecting some criticism for his pieces.

“Controversy is very important,” said the 35-year-old.

“I've been challenging ideas all my life from school teachers to my parents.

“I like to challenge narratives as much as possible. I like to make people think and if a piece of my work stops someone for a few seconds then I am happy even if they don't like it.”


DILEMMA: JJ Adam says he had to think hard before strting art of Princess Diana tattooed

His most recent subject of Diana is sure to provoke controversy and Adams admits he was unsure whether to go through with the project.

“If someone said it was in bad taste, I would also completely understand why they would feel that way, I felt that myself to begin with,” he said.

“It was a very difficult piece to work on and I almost didn't do it simply out of respect for her and her family.

“I was really torn but at the same time I wanted to celebrate her life and remind people of who she was and what she had achieved. It is entirely celebratory. She was a beautiful person and needs to be remembered.”

Adams has also used icons Amy Winehouse, Audrey Hepburn and Kate Middleton as the subjects of his art in the past.

His art is bright, boisterous and full of colour and concedes he has a thing for famous people.

“Pop Culture, I'm very inspired by film and music, I am always fascinated by famous people and what they did to get where they are.

“Most famous people are nothing like we think they are, a lot of the time it's just a very clever facade.

Adams spent some of his childhood in Manchester, before moving to South Africa and returning to the UK as an adult and believes the clash of cultures has dramatically influenced his work.


'CONTROVERSY IS GOOD': JJ Adams believes challenging people is important

“I'm very inspired by South Africa,” he admitted.

“Cape Town is an incredible city and I grew up on as much American pop culture as I did British and South African.

“The real culture clash happened when I left the UK as a child; I started school in South Africa with a very distinct Manchester accent which a lot of my new school friends could not understand.”

“My vivid memories of Manchester as a child are the stone and brickwork of the buildings, my Star Wars toys, Dr Who being on television and the house that the Bee Gees grew up in that we walked past on the way to school, I went to the same school they did in Chorlton,” he added.


ICON DEFACED: Manchester Town Hall daubed in graffiti

Now back in the city he grew up in, Adams believes Manchester is a fantastic place to live.

“The Architecture and the cultural side of Manchester, it's really happening,” he explained.

“There are lots of things going on and great bars and restaurants to enjoy. If I was to pick one city in the UK to compare to Cape Town it would be Manchester. London is great but Manchester has something else entirely.”

JJ Adams’ exhibition is at Generation Gallery from Thursday the April 4-12.

Image courtesy of Sky, via Youtube, with thanks