Kent Twitchell is most well-known for his famous outdoor murals which have adorned various Hollywood buildings over the past years. Currently, he is about to present an indoor exhibition at the LOOK gallery in downtown Los Angeles, which begins today, April 2nd and will run through until April 27th.
His new exhibition: ‘Thriller: The King of Pop Meets the King of Cool: Exploring the Lost Works of Kent Twitchell’ shows the mural of Michael and a mural of Steve McQueen, a.k.a. the King Of Cool.
The exhibition will include sketches, photos and drawings for “lost” murals, as well as one that was completed but never installed or shown to the public: A 100-foot-tall, 60-foot-wide portrait of Michael which was created in the early 1990s for the side of the former Barker Bros. building in Hollywood, now the El Capitan Theatre.
Twitchell spoke to the LA Times about his work, and in particular the mural he did of Michael. “It’s the most exquisite colour I’ve ever done,” he said, as he stepped around panels of the mural which showed Michael’s dark eyes and nose beneath a wide hat brim. Twitchell said preparatory work had already been done on the building when the project was put on hold in 1993. “I was never told why. It was three years of my life, and no one ever saw it.”
Michael’s mural is too big to display in full at the LOOK Gallery so Twitchell plans to mount part of it on a twenty foot wall, then roll out an additional twenty/thirty feet of it on the floor. The one hundred and fifty sheets that make up the mural are painted on a synthetic, nonwoven material.
Twitchell added that he took more than one hundred photographs of Michael dressed in the pastel suit from ‘Smooth Criminal’. “Originally when I talked to him, he wanted black leather, but I said I really thought the ‘Smooth Criminal’ outfit would be better because it really reminds you of Hollywood in the ’30’s, with the Fred Astaires and the Cary Grants, and he just loved that!” He worked on the preliminary concepts at Neverland Valley Ranch then brought Michael to a soundstage in Hollywood for more photos. “I wanted him to swing out so his coattails would be flying, I just wanted to get that one perfect shot. I could always bring in a head from there, or a hand from there.”
Twitchell also said that Michael called him “Twitch” and that he made him promise to make the mural “the best thing you’ve ever done.”