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When some of Thursday night’s first-round NFL Draft picks take the stage with commissioner Roger Goodell, they won’t be alone.
Just look for the guy who paints portraits – with both hands, no less – of players.
Rob Prior, an acclaimed Los Angeles experiential artist, will personalize the portraits, a set of which will later be auctioned off by the NFL Foundation, with proceeds benefiting the organization’s work in social justice, child health, and health initiatives. youth and well-being.
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Prior met and spoke to the 20 draft prospects on Wednesday. Behind him were portraits he created of some of popular culture’s recognizable people, including a Super Bowl halftime performer in February: a painting of Snoop Dogg with a particularly penetrating gaze.
“The most important thing is to get a quick glimpse of their personality,” Prior said. “If I can’t put their soul into a painting like this, you kind of lose what you do. The more I know about a subject, the more successful the painting I can be.”
So Prior has done his homework, learning about each of the players, and he’s ready for what he says is a “strange trance” he gets into while creating. Each of the players will receive a lithograph of Prior’s work.
Although Prior primarily works with artists and musicians – he was recently selected to create the official painted portrait of eight-time Grammy Award winner Joni Mitchell at the 31st Annual MusiCares Person of the Year Benefit Gala at MGM Big – this isn’t Prior’s first foray into athletics.
“Boxing, along with football, are my favorite sports,” he said, “and one thing I can capture in the portrait is those moments in the ring where it becomes magical. The most supreme part sport is that movement.”
So Prior, 57, created a portrait of Canelo Alvarez, widely regarded as the best boxer in the world, and it won acclaim last year at Art Basel in Miami.
Marc Ganis, president of sports consulting firm Sportscorp Ltd., and a confidant of many NFL owners, linked Prior to the league. With the draft in Las Vegas billing itself as “the entertainment capital of the world,” Prior’s first-round stage appearances seem entirely appropriate.
“Rob is the LeRoy Neiman of this generation,” Ganis said, “bringing high-end artistic interpretation to these magical and emotional moments in the sport. Only he will be on stage creating art, live in front of the audience, two by two. “
When players learned that something similar to the works on display on Wednesday would be given to each of them in lithograph form, they were surprised and definitely thrilled.
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“I’m going to put this on my wall,” Washington defensive back Kyler Gordon said.