Sharon Stone — A Joyful Place

Photography:
Branislav Simoncik
Styling:
Paris Libby
Words:
India Hendrikse

At 65, Sharon Stone is stepping into a career as a painter. She’s always been an artist, of course, but her mind and body now have a new medium. Her works are free-handed and mostly bright, sometimes deepened with lashings of black. Each brushstroke is an expression of a rich inner dialogue, with every piece made in a dance between joy and dissatisfaction. Here, she lets us in on her creative rhythm.

Saint Laurent by Anthony Vaccarello shirt & trousers, Julien Riad Sahyoun earrings

Givenchy dress & shoes

Painting title: Dragons In The Sky

Yousef Akbar dress, Dolce & Gabbana shoes, Atelier Biser earcuff

Lanvin jacket, Tom Ford by LensCrafters eyewear, Atelier Biser choker

Sharon Stone is on camera and immediately apologising for the way she looks. She no longer has a publicist, so she tells me she only found out about our interview three minutes prior. It’s 1pm on a Sunday in Los Angeles, and she’s just out of bed. “Now you’re not going to put this on Instagram or anything?” she asks. I assure her that no, of course I won’t. “I’m exhausted, I’ve been going non-stop” she continues, shoving messy pieces of her blonde bob out of her face while she wanders about her Beverly Hills home. “I look like Kurt Cobain’s sister, and that’s the reality of things!” she laughs.
Despite her tiredness, I find Sharon Stone to be deeply present. She’s purposeful with her words and unafraid to take long pauses as she gathers her thoughts. When she does speak, she’s zestful and magnetic, and there’s a confidence plastered across her famously sharp cheekbones. It feels special to witness this relaxed, baggy T-shirt-clad Sharon.
In pop culture, Sharon is the poster girl of femme fatale. The image of male desire. We can’t speak of her acting projects in our interview due to the SAG-AFTRA strikes, but we can discuss the highs and lows of her career, including the healing she’s found in recent years. Following her stroke in 2001, Sharon has vocalised how she was all but cast off by Hollywood. In her book, The Beauty of Living Twice, published in 2021, she details two versions of Sharon Stone: the woman before the stroke, and the woman after. Hers is a life stitched together with gut-wrenching sorrow, but at 65, she’s more resilient and radiant than ever. For the past 20 years, she’s lived the new, more healed version of herself. That’s the Sharon I meet when we speak; mum of Roan, Laird, and Quinn, activist, and most recently, painter. To her friends, she says, she’s known as Shaz, Shazza, Shazarella, Shazzington, or the Shaz.

Balmain, jacket, shirt & shoes, Wolford tights, LensCrafters sunglasses

Painting title: The Confusion Of Creation

Atelier Biser dress & trousers, Mach & Mach shoes
Zach (in the background): Lanvin top, trousers & shoes

Painting title: Cumulus Joy

Dior coat

Painting title: Us

Versace shirt, Rahul Mishra trousers

Most mornings, she wakes up, does a pool workout with her trainer, and then heads for her painting studio, where she’ll paint for anywhere between four and 12 hours. During the pandemic, her art routine was so intensive that she’d simply rise, brush her teeth, and start painting from her bedroom in her underwear and a T-shirt. “Bit by bit I sold my bedroom furniture,” she tells me, “I got rid of my king-size bed and I bought a tiny bed and now my bedroom is like an artist’s loft. But ultimately, I painted myself out of my bedroom.”
At this point, she swivels her phone around to show me that indeed, her bed is tiny. Back in her seat, I notice the awards lined up behind her. I spot an Emmy and a Golden Globe, scattered amongst others, sitting beneath a large black-and-white picture of a lion. Above it, as a small reminder of her stature, there’s a gilded ceiling.
In April, her first gallery show was held at Allouche Gallery in LA. It’s a series of largely abstract paintings, titled Shedding. I congratulate her, and she tells me painting was never part of the plan. “I gave a painting to my dear friend for her birthday and suddenly everyone wanted commissions and I started getting shows and things just went crazy. I didn’t plan on this happening, this was just something I did for me. Solely, wholly and completely for me. And it’s still something I’m doing for me, but there’s a bit of pressure involved because now I’m having shows.”
The process of finding success in a painting routine was a homecoming of sorts. She drew on her acting craft to find her rhythm. “I got to be considered such a success in acting for five minutes – you know, no one was going to let me have that for too long – so because of that I started to really understand what you have to do to be in that feeling of success, you have to push yourself to this place of enormous discomfort,” she says, the obvious dig at Hollywood’s ageist, short timeframe for women’s success not lost on me. “Then when you get to this place where you say ‘Oh fuck, I just ruined it’, that’s about the time that the going gets good.”

DSquared2 shirt, jeans & necklace, Dolce & Gabbana shoes

Giorgio Armani dress & bracelet

Lanvin jacket & boots, Tom Ford by LensCrafters eyewear, Atelier Biser choker

Painting on the left: Welcome To My Garden; painting on the right: Dragons In The Sky

Lanvin jacket, Mach & Mach shoes and Wolford tights

Sharon admits that the artistic process is one of continual dissatisfaction. “Every single moment that you’re alive as an artist you continue to grow,” she says. “Martha Graham said there was just this endless feeling of dissatisfaction as an artist that you just kind of have to keep working and growing through, this stretching through your dissatisfaction. You’re just dealing with your dissatisfaction at all times. It’s almost like a joyful dissatisfaction; you’re joyful that you’re growing, you’re joyful that you learn.”
Guided by an inner voice – “it’s what people call God or spirit or universal consciousness” – she says she’s in “full communication” with her paintings. She talks out loud to them. “It’s about me being a worthy conduit and staying clear and in my truth, right?”
Partway through our interview, one of her sons comes in fleetingly and she plants a kiss on his cheek before he takes off to his driving lesson. As a mum, she’s had to learn to parent in a way that she was never shown as a child. Raised by Depression-era parents, Sharon’s childhood was fraught with difficulties. “My dad didn’t tell me he loved me until I was 22 and then he said, ‘Oh, I probably should have told you that I loved you’. Nobody hugged me, so my friends taught me how to hug. I tell my kids I love them every time they walk by, but I wasn’t raised with any of that stuff.”
Now, she affirms, she’s breaking the cycle. “Intergenerational trauma is a very real thing and it’s both emotional and cellular,” she says. “The older I get the more I understand my parents and the more I understand my childhood and the more I understand everybody and what happens to them. When you decide that you’re going to break the chain and change it, everything goes haywire and everyone gets mad at you and everybody goes crazy. It wasn’t just my business community, my personal family stopped talking to me for like a year and a half. But then they all came out the other side great. It’s rough but good.”

Balmain jacket, shirt & shoes, Wolford tights

Painting title: Dragons in the Sky

Dolce & Gabbana top, Gabriela Hearst trousers,

Adolfo Sanchez coat painted by Sharon Stone

Painting seems to be therapeutic for Sharon. “The process of fitness training and painting has cleared my body, mind, and soul to such a beautiful place that I almost wish I was acting more so that I could put that on screen,” she says, grinning. “But I feel like comedy because my attitude has shifted so dramatically. I’ve really painted myself back to a joyful place.”
If it wasn’t for Sharon’s honesty, the world would likely look at her with envy. A surfacelevel Google search will tell you she has it all: a beautiful home, an expansive career, a timeless beauty. But it’s her openness to talk about the grittiness of life – both in her book and in her interviews, and now in her art – that pieces together an unrattled uniqueness, a painstakingly complex person.
Sharon is mindful to keep gratefulness imbued in her days. “Even though I wake up in a palatial environment, every day that I wake up here with my beautiful little doggy next to me I say, ‘Look where I still live, wow, I’m so grateful that this is happening to me again today, thanks for letting me be here’. I have no expectation of another day in this luxury or this beauty, I don’t want it…” she pauses, before cracking a smile and correcting herself, “I want it a little”.
As we wrap up our call, Sharon admires the mint green jumper that I’m wearing. I tell her my mum knitted it, and I’m sure she’d be happy to make her one. In an act of no fucks given, only done by a celebrity without a publicist, she reads out her phone number and tells me to text her how much it will cost. After the call, I text her that we’re on it, and she replies “Yay”. In my phone, I save her number as Shazza Stone.
Order your copy of issue 18 here
Photographer: Branislav Simoncik
Creative director & stylist: Paris Libby at A Frame Agency
Interview: India Hendrikse
Editor in chief: Maria Joudina
Makeup: Amy Oresman at A Frame Agency
Hair: Sami Knight at A Frame Agency
Nails: Merrick Fisher
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