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Michael Jackson's death: Artist inspired by pop idol

June 26, 2009 |  9:19 am

Mjphoto Nathan Holsey was up all night.

In a fit of creativity, the artist painted a 24-by-48 acrylic portrait of Jackson, singing with a microphone in his hand. The paint is so fresh, you can still smell it.

Holsey, of Studio City, said he's been painting important figures, such as Richard Pryor and Oprah Winfrey, since 2005 but has never completed a piece in its entirety in eight hours before.

"He's an icon," said Holsey. "This is my tribute to Michael Jackson and the Jackson family."

Holsey used a black-and-white photo from Jackson's website as a starting ground, but added color and the years "1958 to 2009" to Jackson's red jacket. He also added a crown and the word "pop" on the bottom of it. He said he heard of Jackson's death Thursday on his drive home.

"My first thought was, 'Please don't let this be No. 3.' " Jackson was the third celebrity to die in recent days after Ed McMahon and Farrah Fawcett.

-- Nicole Santa Cruz in Encino

Photo: Artist rendition of Michael Jackson. Credit: Nicole Santa Cruz / Los Angeles Times