Russell Tovey stripped down to just his underpants for all the right reasons.
Specifically, the British actor is working with artist Christopher Garrington to support HIV research and treatment. Recently, Garrington arrived at Tovey’s East London loft and quickly got to work painting the actor.
“I actually reached out to him through social media. He came back quickly and was really enthusiastic. I wanted to paint someone who had passion for this important cause and he was top of that list,” said Garrington to GayTimes.
The concept behind the barely dressed superhero look was Tovey’s recent take as gay superhero The Ray.
“The superhero concept felt right. I knew I wanted to do something sexy and this felt in keeping with his character,” says Garrington.
Of course, Tovey isn’t dressed up like the Ray in this painting. In fact, he’s barely dressed at all.
“I decided to strip him down to his pants and use a bedsheet cape to show you don’t need ‘superpowers’ to become a homemade superhero. Russell’s openness and success shows everyone growing up that can their dreams are achievable.
“I ran the concept by Russell and he really liked it. On the day, I was nervous but Russell and Steve made me feel really comfortable and he threw himself into the character! Usually people sit for hours while I paint them, but that wasn’t an option for Russell, who was just back from America.”
Together, the two are trying to support the Terrence Higgins Trust charity auction at Christie's auction house on April 16.
Russell Tovey is a continual supporter of the Terrence Higgins Trust, which is why Garrington reached out to the actor in the first place.
“I always want to do my bit for Terrence Higgins Trust and this was a completely different way to do it,” says Tovey. “I absolutely love Chris’s concept. He’s a very talented artist. All that’s left is for it to find a good home and raise lots and lots of cash to make sure Terrence Higgins Trust can keep supporting people living with HIV.”
If you want to have a chance at buying this unique and intimate painting of Russell Tovey, you can buy tickets for the charity auction here.
The painting of supped-up Russell Tovey will be auctioned off alongside a painting by Turner Prize winning Travey Emin, a dinner date with Poldark’s Aidan Turner, and a historic photograph of two men on a hospital bed within London’s first AIDS ward.