About a year and a half ago, I had the opportunity to participate in a public arts project with the city of West Lafayette called Pop! Goes Purdue. They commissioned a number of local artists to paint portraits of famous Purdue alumni. I did two portraits, one of George Peppard and one of the Callie Khouri. I went to Purdue for undergrad and spent about 3 years working there after I graduated, so having a strong connection to the university made it an especially cool project to be involved with.
I don’t work for Purdue or live in West Lafayette anymore, but it was kind of funny to be on campus recently and see a poster of one of my paintings hanging in the library window. Someone had tried to tear it down, which made me laugh. I’ve created a lot of controversial art in my day, so it was funny that the piece someone felt the need to deface was a 60 year old George Peppard holding a cat. I clearly have gotten off pretty easy as an artist up until now. Ha!
I recall the opening show being a lot of fun. It featured some incredible artists and took place at the beautiful Fountain Gallery, which has been a great addition to downtown Lafayette’s art scene. The coolest thing about portraiture is how differently each artist interprets the personality and essence of their subject, and projects like this really celebrate that.