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The Best, The Worst & The Weirdest Art Inspired By Michael Jackson

I know that thousands of people are mourning the loss of MJ, Michael Jackson, aka Jacko/ The King of Pop/ The Gloved One and are paying tribute with original artwork, most of which is amateur and simply awful. You can view many of those by simply searching on Flickr, Deviant Art and Google images.

So, let me separate the wheat from the chaff for you. Michael Jackson was immortalized by some of the truly talented and fairly well-known artists of our time from Andy Warhol to Banksy. Below are some of their art pieces inspired by the late pop star, followed by some examples of the worst and the weirdest.

Admittedly, not all of the artwork here was created with the best intent; several mock the singer or reference things his family would have us forget. But the beauty of art is that it's an expression and a reflection of the world in which we live.... and that's not always pretty.


The most well known, of course, are Andy Warhol's images of Michael:

above: Oil on silkscreen on canvas, 1984
Time cover, March 19, 1984
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution
Gift of Time magazine, NPG.86.TC14
© Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts / ARS, New York

Like all of Andy Warhol's silkscreens the image was produced in several different color variations:

Contemporary pop artist, Thierry Guetta, known as Mr. Brainwash, created his own version by combining two of Warhol's best known celebrity images:

His prints of the above images are sold out.



The piece, created in 2006, was shown in Santa's Ghetto, London and made obvious references to the allegations of child molestation of which Jacko was acquitted. On the Santa's Ghetto leaflet it reports that this painting was originally by Tom Ormond and that Banksy painted Michael Jackson over the top of it.

Another contemporary artist, known for his urban street art, prints and bronzes, Faile, created this poster:

the above piece is available for sale here. the asking price is $24,00.00 USD

...and Faile's MJ found on on the streets of london:

Jeff Koons (probably the second best known modern art likeness of Michael Jackson):

above: Jeff Koons (American, b. 1955). Michael Jackson and Bubbles, 1988. Ceramic. 42 x 70 1/2 x 32 1/2 in. (106.7 x 179.1 x 82.5 cm). Photo © Douglas M. Parker Studio, Los Angeles. The Broad Art Foundation, Santa Monica / © Jeff Koons

above: Paul McCarthy's "Michael Jackson Fucked Up (Big Head)" (2002) serves as a critique of Jeff Koons's earlier "Michael Jackson and Bubbles" (1988). Image Courtesy of Hauser & Wirth

Melbourne sculptor Ivan Lovett's Michael made of chicken wire

See more of Ivan's chicken wire celeb sculptures here.

The text art of Ralph Ueltzhoeffer:

above: Ralph Ueltzhoeffer's text portraits of Michael Jackson

Photographer Matthew Rolston, who always shoots beautiful film, shot Michael for Ebony's cover and inside editorial:

See all the shots and behind the scenes ones here.

The other best photographs of Michael I've ever seen are those by Annie Leibovitz for Vanity Fair. She shot Michael twice, once for the December 1986 issue of Vanity Fair, and again in 1994 for the Nightmare at Neverland Ranch story but I cannot find them, so here's the cover shot from the December 1986 issue and one editorial shot from the January 1994 issue:

Artist Maria E. Pineres' Rogues Gallery is a collection of needlepoint versions of celebrity mugshots. Here's her one of Michael:

To see more of Maria's celebrity needlepoint mugshots, go here.

Muralist Kent Twitchell completed, but never installed, a 100-foot-tall, 60-foot-wide portrait of Michael Jackson, created in the early 1990s for the side of the former Barker Bros. building in Hollywood, now the El Capitan Theater:

above: Los Angeles muralist Kent Twitchell poses in his studio with a portion of his a mural showing the hand of the music icon, at his new studio downtown Los Angeles on Tuesday, March 24, 2009.

above: Kent Twitchell sits among panels for his Michael Jackson mural that was never installed. Part of the Jackson mural will be displayed at LOOK Gallery.
Take a look at some of Kent's amazing murals here.


I know, I know, you'd love to see some of the worst art of Michael Jackson. For that, you should check out his own items intended for auction, much of the worst and creepiest by artist David Nordahl.

above: 3 paintings by American born artist David Nordahl, all which feature Michael, and were to be a part of the auction.

Above: Paul Bedard's "Portrait of famous figures wearing glasses" (1985) was owned by Michael Jackson and was to be auctioned in the exhaustive auction with Julien's Auctions that was eventually canceled. Image Courtesy of Julien's Auctions

above: A quilted image of MJ amongst 'friends' made for him by a fan

above: Statue of Michael Jackson in Eindhoven, the Netherlands

I happen to like some of UK sculptor James Butler's work, but this one is hideous:

above: James Butler's "Statue of Michael Jackson" at one point overlooked Piccadilly Circus in London Image Courtesy the Courtauld Institute of Art

and of course, the gold bust shown above from Michael's own collection.

Note: there are links to more bad MJ art at the end of this post.


above: the Michael Jackson baby sculpture is part of an installation from the John Waters Show at the Marianne Boesky Gallery

Three busts of Michael Jackson, including two with forearms and hands, making faces. Each is mounted to a black wooden base on plexiglass sheet:

above: The masks were created for the effects sequences in Jackson's 1997 short film Ghosts. They can be seen during the closing credits as Jackson undergoes his special effects makeup application in his trailer

Fashion designer Jean-charles de Castelbajac's Michael Jackson Dress:

above: A model presents a creation by French fashion designer Jean-Charles de Castelbajac for his Fall-Winter 2009-2010 ready-to-wear collection, Tuesday, March 10, 2009 in Paris. The face of singer Michael Jackson is seen printed on the fabric.

Michael Jackson body painting:

above: Colombian artist Anubis Vrussh paints on the body of a model the face of US pop star Michael Jackson in Cali, department of Valle del Cauca, Colombia, on June 27, 2009. (photos courtesy of Getty images)

Michael Jackson Sand Sculpture:

above: A sand sculpture by artist Sudersan Pattnaik in tribute to the famous performer is seen at the Golden Sea beach in Puri, about 65 kms away from Bhubaneswar, on June 26, 2009.

Here are some links to the most abominable art belonging to and of the pop star:

The site "Michael Jackson Art" has some of the most hideous works you'll ever see and some good ones, too.
More amateur fan artwork
Michael Jackson art on Deviant Art

The Neverland Ranch Auction Items:
The press preview images
The Guardian's Michael Jackson Auction Items Part 1.
The Guardian's Michael Jackson Auction Items Part 2
CNBC 's Treasures from Neverland slideshow

Now I'm just waiting for the Shepard Fairey poster......

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