If you don't know already, Brett-Livingstone Strong is hailed as “A modern day Michelangelo”, and has the most amazing mullet I have ever seen. He painted the only portrait of Michael Jackson that Jackson ever sat for in his lifetime, which really seems hard to believe. When I think Neverland Ranch, I think giant vanity oil paintings. It seems ridiculous to me that the King of Pop only had one, when A-Rod can have two paintings of himself as a centaur.
Anyway, at New York Comic Con this year, we were handed a pamphlet detailing Strong's portrait of Michael Jackson and its importance to Jackson collectors everywhere. Not only is Michael sitting in the foreground, he's being painted in a painting in the background! There's a Peter Pan statue! There's a Thriller mask! There are hidden olive branches representing MJ's vision of world peace! There's even a sculpture that Strong did in 1988 slyly hidden in the corner. Oh, but wait, there's more:
The name of the portrait is "The Book," after the book seen on Michael's lap:
The book was a compilation of Michael’s personal essays and poems at that time. "What are you going to put in the book today Michael"**, Mr. Strong has reportedly queried during the creation of the painting as Michael continued to pose with his memoirs, essays and personal poems secured safely on his lap.
Oh, I know, I wept when I saw the full portrait, as well. To see all the fine details from Neverland ranch -- the chandeliers! the curtains! The... tiles! -- forever captured in this painting is simply stunning. And to think, for just fifteen thousand dollars, you can own your own print of this portrait, signed by both the artist and Michael Jackson himself. (The original sold to a Japanese promoter of the King of Pop for over two million dollars in 1990. You can read more about its provenance here.)
Only 375 are in existence! It's hard to believe that they're not already sold out! It's like the world at large can't afford $15,000 prints of strange paintings! (Not to mention Michael Jackson didn't even want the goddamn thing.) But if you can't afford that price tag, and don't want Jacko's signature, you can get a plain, unsigned copy for $7500! Make the check out to "cash".
When looking at this site / brochure, you might be skeptical. Make no mistake, this is legit! These totally not photoshopped photos of Brett with the King of Pop will make you believe they were BFFEs:
**"What are you putting in your book today?" is not at all something a captor might say to his captive. "Wednesday, September 14th - It puts the lotion on its skin, it did not get the hose today. Smiley face. Listening to: Shrieking Cell Mate / Ocean Sounds Mix #3"