Speaking to Haper’s Bazaar Thursday (Feb. 21), O’Brien explained how he didn’t even know his portrait of the Royal Duchess of Sussex would be featured in The Carter’s acceptance video and the portrait’s origins. O’Brien created the oil painting for Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority magazine The Key, for their soro, Meghan Markle. The issue dropped in Summer 2018.
“This was a collaboration and we worked together closely on the image and all the tiny details specific to the Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority,” he explained. “I think she’s lovely and I wanted her to look regal, like a classic portrait, even trying to achieve an aged feel to the color of the piece.”
Beyonce and Jay- Z were rightfully in awe of the painting. So much so, they featured it in their acceptance video when they took home the award for Best International Group at the 2019 BRIT awards for their joint album, Everything Is Love.
— BRIT Awards (@BRITs) February 20, 2019
“Thank you so much to the BRIT awards for this incredible honor, you guys have been so supportive. Everything is Love. Thank you,” Beyonce said graciously before the “4:44” rapper added his two cents saying, “You’re welcome.”
O’Brien, added he “did not know” that the Carters were going to use his painting, “but if they can now put my piece in the Louvre, I’ll call it even,” he told the publication. O’Brien has used his talents to cover magazines like TIME, The Smithsonian and Texas Monthly. He also has made a portrait of Beyonce, herself.
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Check out the rest of his work here.