On the back wall of Revelry Boutique Gallery, there’s a small illustration of the musician Prince drawn as a vampire. Next to that, there’s one of him dressed as the Pillsbury Doughboy. And next to that, there’s one of him trapped inside a gumball machine.
Down the row it continues — Prince blowing bubblegum, quadruplet Princes in a sardine can, Popsicle Prince — until you finally count over 365 pen and ink illustrations, all of which are the work of new-to-Louisville artist Rebekah Major.
“So I completed an illustration for every day for an entire year,” Major says. “But some of the days there are more Prince illustrations in a day, so there are more than 365 Princes. For instance, the last illustration depicts the ‘Last Supper,’ so it’s Prince as Jesus and all of the disciples.”
Obsessive? Yes (one might call it the artist’s purple period).
But Major says the process of creating everyday was an artistic challenge — and the end result is a delightfully weird tribute to the singer which has taken on new resonance after his death last year.
“The project was actually completed a year prior to Prince’s passing,” she says. “But after he passed, I completed one last illustration and it depicts him surrounded by doves with a third eye awakened.”
Pop culture-inspired art is having a moment right now in Louisville. For example, 21c currently has their monumental “Pop Stars!” exhibition on-view. But Mo McKnight Howe, the owner of Revelry Boutique Gallery, says she initially wasn’t sure what to think when Major approached her about hosting an all-Prince art show.
“But I looked at them and they were really well-done illustrations,” Howe says. “And yes, they were absolutely crazy, and yes, they were of this pop culture icon, but there was a craft to them that was really special.”
The exhibition — which is called, fittingly, “365 Days of Prince” — opens Friday, July 7.