Can you feel Prince in this portrait?
If you can, credit the alchemy that happens when Salt Lake City artist Jimmi Toro spins paint on canvas into gold.
In 2018, Liz Malmquist of Salt Lake City commissioned this portrait from Toro. She says that Prince’s death hit her profoundly. Only months before Prince died, she had lost her closest friend. She was the same age as Prince and found herself struggling with her own mortality.
“I have loved Prince since before Purple Rain. He was beautiful. Just beautiful
Malmquist and Toro collaborated on the portrait and looked for photos together. Malmquist did not share Prince’s love of purple but rather, favored the color red. Toro found a photo of Prince wearing red on the cover of Portuguese magazine BLITZ, from July 2010.
Toro began with a sketch.
“The result is stunning,” Malmquist says. “It takes your breath away. It really is something to be seen in person as it is almost tactile. I have never had a person not reach out to touch this painting. Young and old. The textures are both smooth and rough, the contrasts of this painting I feel add to the contrast of the subject. Prince was an enigma.”
Malmquist says, “I look at this painting every day. It has become more than art, it has become a reminder to live my life fully.”
She adds, “But as much as I admired Prince, I also admire Jimmi Toro. His quiet beautiful soul and his talent so multifaceted. The two of them would have had good conversations I think. I am honored to have this piece.”
“Prince seemed to never age,” Malmquist says. “He did towards the last photos of him but he will always be this, this kind of Mona Lisa smile and those eyes. He will always be one of the beautiful ones.”