WHEN SWINDON Siren Diana Dors was young she would close her eyes and dream of owning a mansion, a swimming pool and a beige telephone. She was to grow up a superstar who had all those things, becoming the youngest person to own a Rolls-Royce. ‘Britain’s answer to Marilyn Monroe’ died young at the age of 52 and perhaps never reached her full potential, but she left behind some valuable films, and warm sentiments among her legion of fans. One of those is artist Anna Mazzotta. The two women are inextricably linked as we will find out.
Anna had “quite an odd upbringing” in the middle of Swindon, five minutes’ walk from Swindon Central Library, where she is to unveil stunning paintings and drawings of her heroine. Film, theatre, fashion and revivalist glamour heavily influence Anna’s work, passions which started early in life. As a five-year-old, she could name film stars Bette Davis, Lauren Bacall, Humphrey Bogart and Valentino among many others.
“My mum used to be obsessed with Hollywood musicals and films,” Anna remembers fondly. “I remember I used to write essays about it at school and my teacher would say, ‘How do you know all these names?’ It was quite an odd upbringing but it really does influence me.”
Anna’s vital, vivid and colourful oil paintings of the larger-than-life actress make a dramatic impact at sizes from 150cm by 90cm to 110cm by 100cm. Along with her charcoal drawings on paper, they have the essence of caricatures, something which is again an influence from Anna’s childhood.
• Diana Dors: Bold, Bad and Beautiful is at Swindon Central Library, May 2-June 5. If you would like to attend the launch on May 1 (6.30pm-9.30pm), or to commission a painting, contact the artist through her website at www.annamazzotta.co.uk