A Sydney artist has received praise from Prince‘s family after he painted a giant mural of the late legend on a wall in The Purple One’s hometown of Chanhassen, Minnesota.
The New Zealand-born artist Graham Hoete went viral earlier in the year with his mural of Prince in Sydney. Following that, he sought funding to make the trip to the US after he was asked to paint one in the singer’s hometown.
He put a call out on social media for people to fund his trip and while there was interest he didn’t have anyone commit until an Aussie who lived in Minnesota came through.
she offered to help and ended up being the key to securing a wall in Chanhassen. Without her I don’t think it would have happened,” he told ABC.
Hoete flew to the US to paint the two-and-a-half story mural and was eventually recognsied by the town mayor in a presentation following the mural’s completion. Unbeknownst to Hoete, Prince’s brother had come to see the mural and wanted to pass on the family’s gratitude.
“There was one lady who came up to me during the presentation and she slipped a piece of paper in my hand and pulled me aside and said ‘this is serious, you need to read this, this is from Prince’s brother, he’s in the car round the back’,” he said.
“They needed to be discrete because they didn’t want to be swamped by all the Prince fans there, so I rang him the next day when things settled down and he basically said ‘Mr G, I want to deeply thank you on behalf of myself and my family for the amazing mural that you’ve done in honour of the Prince’.”
Goete believes that Prince’s family recognised him because he flew 15 hours to get to the US out of his own pocket and put in the labour for a mural purely to honour the artist.
“They understand and acknowledge the price this had and I think they were touched that someone had come all this way to do that. I think they felt it would be fitting to reciprocate by inviting me to the memorial.”
Even though, the mural was mostly about gifting the city a memorial and paying tribute to Prince, Goete also honoured his own culture by performing the haka in front of the Mayor of Chanhassen.
“It’s not an entertaining dance or anything like that, it’s for a moment of honour or giving of a gift or challenge. It’s a good thing too cause the Mayor of Chanhassen had a bit of a background on the haka so he was pretty humbled,” he said of the experience.
Goete and his wife will fly back to the US in August to attend the memorial, however, he didn’t reveal any further details. He did say that while there he plans to paint an even bigger mural in Minneapolis.