Tallulah Willis' "Provocative, But Slightly Twisted" Art Opening Draws Mom Demi Moore, Emma Roberts

Eric Minh Swenson
Tallulah Willis, Demi Moore

The 22-year-old artist's show, "Please Be Gentle," which features drawings of otherworldly creatures, sold briskly at Eric Buterbaugh's EB Florals gallery annex.

Tallulah Willis opened her first art show, “Please Be Gentle,” at Eric Buterbaugh’s EB Florals art gallery annex last night. Showing a shade fewer than 50 of her “creature” drawings, Willis quickly was on her way to selling out her debut only an hour into the opening.

“I didn’t think I could get them all done,” the 22-year-old artist said breathlessly when THR remarked about the sheer number of drawings.

Guests including Willis' mother Demi Moore and sisters Rumer and Scout, along with Ron Meyer, Liz Goldwyn, Jacqui Getty and Gia Coppola, mingled about Buterbaugh’s gallery, which opened a year and a half ago and has shown such artists as Chuck Moffit and Robert Lobetta. Buterbaugh is a sought-after floral designer, and his relationship to Willis’ family, and particularly to Moore, was instrumental in coaxing Willis to exhibit her work.

Willis previously told THR that she struggled with a “goblin” that tried to stop her from thinking of herself as an artist. “To be honest, I didn't think I was ready,” she said. In fact, the title of the show is meant as a reminder to Willis to be “gentle” with herself about her art.

But despite Willis’ hesitancy, Buterbaugh, who has known Willis since she was a child, was persistent.

“We’re family,” Buterbaugh told THR in his Oklahoman twang. “I watched her drawing, and then she would post them on Instagram, and the reaction was amazing. Her spirit really comes through. But when I said she should show here, she started panicking. She couldn’t let herself be an artist. She really got it together, though. The more I look at the drawings, the more they evoke emotion for me, and I think other people see that.”

Suddenly Emma Roberts interrupted us. “Eric, they’re almost sold out in there!” she exclaimed. “Demi got the one I wanted.”

Moore apparently had poached one of the more intricate works, a piece called “Introvert’s Paradise,” upon which Willis had painted delicate swatches of watercolor as the hair upon a creature’s head. The 8”x10” pieces were priced at $450 to $600.

“Of course, I’m so proud of her,” Moore told THR. “But I’m more proud to see the evolution of her self, and of her acceptance of being an artist. What I love most about tonight is her getting to see how others appreciate her work. As a parent, you want nothing more than to see your kids happy.”

Moore pointed out a few of her favorite pieces. “What I like about them is that they’re sweet and provocative, but slightly twisted,” she said.

Where does that twisted-ness come from? Moore laughed before answering: “That’s what makes the world go ’round!”