ARTIST TO ARTIST: Social media and artistic tributes for Virgil Abloh continue to pour out in the weeks following the designer’s death.
Pop artist and painter Rob Prior sold a watercolor portrait of Abloh for $1 million at Art Basel Miami. The artwork was purchased by the real estate executive Daniel Petit. Prior painted the piece live in Miami and Petit was on hand to watch every last stroke. The painting came with an NFT version of the portrait that was created by QNFT, a division of BQT Technologies.
Petit said, “As an art collector, it’s one thing to make a transactional purchase and own a piece of art. But watching Rob paint and then getting to take that piece home and relive the experience, takes his art to an entirely different level.”
Louis Vuitton paid tribute to Abloh, the former artistic director of its men’s wear, during a runway show in Miami earlier this month. The event attracted an assortment of celebrities, as did the designer’s funeral on Dec. 7 in Chicago where Kanye West, Kendall Jenner, A$AP Rocky and Kim Kardashian West were present, among others.
Prior, who had to self-isolate post-Miami due to COVID-19, registered a few other notable sales while in Miami. He sold a pair of portraits of the multiworld championship winning boxer Canelo Alvarez for $500,000. Just as Abloh was known to take inspiration from other designers, so did Prior with another piece of his artwork: His portrait of Frida Kahlo was inspired by her “Diego y yo,” self portrait, which fetched $34.9 million at Sotheby’s last month. That also was sold in Miami, as were two portraits of Bruce Lee by Prior and one of the artist’s “Stan Lee Legacy Collection” parody comic book covers that Stan Lee had signed.
Live painting is happening in other major cities, too. Last month, street artist Bradley Theodore painted a live portrait of Bethann Hardison over LiveRocket’s Instagram page as the pair shared a lively interview.