Prince mural livens up MSP

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A 16-24ft (5-7m) mural of music legend Prince has been installed at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, where it will be on display until January 2021.

The work was created by artist Rock Martinez, who began his career as a graffiti artist in Tucson, Arizona, but has since become a well-known muralist in the tradition of Mexico-born artist Diego Rivera, with studios in both Tucson and Minneapolis-St. Paul.

The ode to Prince has its origins in a mural Martinez painted on a building at 26th and Hennepin Avenues in Minneapolis in April 2016 shortly after the musician died.

“I started painting in the pouring rain and in less than five or six hours I had a portrait of Prince and just a sea of people behind me watching,” said Martinez.

The scene was captured in a local newspaper, catching the attention of the senior curator at the Weisman Art Museum, who commissioned Martinez to paint another mural of Prince.

This time, Martinez chose to paint on six high-quality panels of canvas to give the work more permanence. The “I Would Die 4 U” mural – named for a famous Prince song – was inspired by a photograph taken by Marc Cantor during Prince’s 1985 Purple Rain tour.

The mural was on display at the Weisman for a year and then at the Museum of Pop Culture in Seattle, Washington, for another year before arriving at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.

“I love that this piece made it back to Minneapolis where it should be,” said Martinez.

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Tara has worked for UKi Media & Events since 2013, initially as a freelancer. She has been a journalist for over a decade and has worked for a range of publications, including Personnel Today, Management Today and The Grocer.

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