"David Bowie" / 11" x 14" / acrylic on canvas / 2016
I heard the news that Sunday right before I went to bed. After a restless night, I woke up early and began painting this portrait before I had to go to work. I worked on it in bits and pieces whenever I had time all week. I carried a feeling like I'd been punched in the gut, like a close friend had died instead of some distant, truthfully inaccessible celebrity-- and that is a testament to the quality of his art.
Like so many proud self-proclaimed weirdos, I feel a personal connection to his music that I can't do justice with words. This portrait doesn't really do it justice either. It was just a small gesture and a (painfully obvious) way of coping.
Friends, family and coworkers say that Leroy Valentin Fernandez filled their lives with exuberance and music-- through singing and performance. He was only 25 when his was among the 49 lives taken in Orlando at Pulse Nightclub on the morning of June 12, 2016-- an incomprehensible loss. This portrait was made for the OrlandoIsLove project. Please visit OrlandoIsLove.com and if you are an artist please consider creating a portrait to honor a victim in the attack. One way not to become complacent to this tragedy is to not treat #Orlando as only June 2016's hashtag.