The Light Painter
DON’T CHANGE THAT DIAL! I see the stats – I know many of you switch off when I write about art, but I think you will be interested in this one. Dean Chamberlain is a longtime friend of mine (and my ex-husband’s), who did the mega cool video for Arcadia’s Missing, I think it is quite possibly the most exciting music video ever.
Portrait of David Bowie by Dean Chamberlain
It was the summer of 1982. I was hanging out with my friend Swish in New York, about to join my new boyfriend, Nick Rhodes, in Ibiza for a holiday, when she took me to the studio of an artist she knew. I was blown away – Dean literally paints with light, fire, colored gels, and anything else he fancies to create the most exquisitely brilliant and original photographs I’d ever seen. I knew instantly that Nick would share my enthusiasm, so when I saw this portrait he did of David Bowie I knew I had to buy it for him.
Portrait of Julie Anne Rhodes by Dean Chamberlain, Paris 1985
It was the first gift I ever gave Nick, and one of the few he was ecstatic over – it’s hard to buy for someone like him. As Duran Duran backing vocalist, BJ Nelson put it when we were doing some Christmas shopping together, “girl how do you buy for that man? He’s got style coming out his a**!” Sorry – I digress.
Portrait of Julie Anne Rhodes, Paris 1985
Fast forward a year. Nick and I are living in Paris, and get a call from Swish informing us that Dean is also currently living in Paris. It didn’t come as much of a surprise that Nick and Dean became fast friends, talking photography, art, and music endlessly with creative sparks flying everywhere, often spilling into late night impromptu photo sessions with yours truly as the subject, or whatever friends happened to be around (everyone wanted to be immortalized by Dean).
Portrait of Francesco Clemente by Dean Chamberlain
Nick and I rented the fabulous Great House (my favorite home anywhere in the world) for New Years in Mustique in 1986. Dean, British fashion designer Antony Price, artist Francesco and wife Alba Clemente en famille were our house guests, and the Jaggers were a just a stones throw down the road. That trip resulted in many of Dean’s portraits including an after dinner pose of Nick and me with, Jade and Karis Jagger, Jerry Hall (Mick was away recording in Barbados), Francesco and Alba, and Antony Price. I can’t for the life of me find where I have that stashed away, but I know I have it somewhere!
Kay Saatchi and Dean Chamberlain at Peccadilloes Opening
Lisa Borgnes Giramonti from A Bloomsbury Life and Jewels at Peccadilloes Opening
Here I am attending Amanda Eliasch’s Peccadilloes opening, nearly thirty years after first meeting Dean, with a friendship that has spanned both three decades and the globe. Can you believe Dean and wife Stacy are living in Los Angeles now too? For me, soul mates are not necessarily romantic liaisons – they are the friends that weave in and out of your life, often changing it’s course. I marvel over how our paths have crossed, and we often talk about how our lives might have turned out differently if we’d never met, yet ours is such an effortless friendship.
The Great House in Mustique, West Indies
The chef at the Great House was not terribly fond of the extra effort involved with Dean’s macrobiotic diet, and the fact the rest of us didn’t want to eat the same way, so he dubbed Dean, General Brown Rice. This is one of my favorite rice pilaf recipes that you could certainly make with only brown rice in Dean’s honor.
CINNAMON RICE BLEND PILAF
Since the cleanse last summer I’ve been trying to incorporate more flavorful whole grains into my diet in place of processed starches. The cinnamon adds an exotic aromatic dimension to this side dish, without overpowering the naturally chewy, nutty texture of the rice blend and almonds.
1 tablespoon olive oil 1/2 red pepper, finely chopped, optional 1 large shallot, minced 2 cloves garlic, minced 1 cinnamon stick 1 cup rice blend (see note below) 1/2 teaspoon salt 1 1/2 cups vegetable or chicken broth 1/2 cup almond slices, toasted 1/2 teaspoon Chinese five spice, optional
1). Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add red pepper (if using) and shallot. Cook until softened, about 5-6 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add garlic and cinnamon stick, and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
2). Add rice blend, stir to coat rice well and let it toast in the oil for 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently.
3). Add vegetable or chicken broth, stir once, and bring to boil. Cover with lid, and reduce heat to low; cook for 15 minutes.
4). Remove from heat and let stand, covered, for 5-10 minutes.
5). Discard cinnamon stick, mix in toasted almonds and five spice (if using), and stir to fluff.
I originally wrote this recipe to go with my Duck Breast in Cherry-Pomegranate Sauce, love it with lamb chops, and it really goes well with just about anything.
I used Trader Joe’s Brown Rice Blend here, but Royal Blend also do a wonderful quick cooking Texmati white, brown, wild, and red rice blend I adore.