Not all heroes wear capes. Or shirts.
Russell Tovey has posed in his underwear for a new painting that will benefit the Terrence Higgins Trust, a British HIV charity. Artist Christopher Garrington has portrayed the 36-year-old British heartthrob wearing little more than a green cape and blue mask.
“I always want to do my bit for Terrence Higgins Trust and this was a completely different way to do it,” Tovey says. “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.”
Bidding has officially begun on the 48″ x 35″ oil painting, which will be auctioned off April 16 from Christie’s London.
“I have stripped him down to his Y fronts and bedsheet cape to show you don’t need to have ‘superhero powers’ to become someone’s hero,” Garrington explains.
The painting references Tovey’s performance as gay superhero The Ray in “Crisis on Earth X,” last year’s four-part primetime crossover within the CW’s Arrow-verse. Tovey memorably shared a kiss with fellow out actor Wentworth Miller as Citizen Cold, an alternate-universe version of Miller’s Captain Cold.
“This image was painted from a sitting with the artist to demonstrate that whatever your sexuality, childhood dreams of becoming a superhero are possible,” reads an official description.
Tovey, who announced his engagement to hunky rugby player Steve Brockman earlier this year, has played other gay roles in TV shows such as Looking and Quantico. He also appeared in Queers, BBC America’s series of filmed monologues about the British gay experience.
Come join us for the #THTAuction at the world-famous auction-house @ChristiesInc for prizes like Homemade Superhero – a shirtless @russelltovey painting by the amazing Chris Garrington @CGarrington. Bid: https://t.co/jbwx8Cctun @Paddle8 pic.twitter.com/1aIA7dnRzn
— Terrence Higgins Trust (@THTorguk) April 12, 2018
“For so long, as a young actor, I had this anxiety about making sure I could get straight roles, and now I know that’s not necessary,” Tovey recently told The Guardian. “The gay roles are the best for me—being gay has made my career.”
Artist Ross Watson similarly donated portraits of LGBT performers such as Sam Sparro, Stephen Fry, and Jake Shears to benefit Terrence Higgins Trust in 2012.