Monday, April 23, 2012

'Le Petit Prince' An Amazing and Whimsical Tribute to Prince, by Artist Troy Gua!

Le Petit Prince
The Artist Currently Known as Troy Gua
One day I was on "the Twitter" and actress Yvette Nicole Brown tweeted something like, "For all you Prince Fans!" So, of course, being a Prince freak, er, uh, fan, I had to check it out. I was not expecting this! LOL! The first photo above features a project, Le Petit Prince, a Prince doll hand crafted (uh, down to the chest hairs!) by Washington native, Troy Gua, a true artist. I was absolutely not prepared for the level of divine detail in Gua's work. He created the doll and a vast amount of the Purple One's iconic looks that will make you want to dig through crates to find original album covers and contrast and compare. Gua's stunning and lovingly hilarious tribute to Prince is something that could have only been done from a place of profound admiration for the music legend. And it shows!

A pop culture enthusiast like myself, who's created his own emoticon that  serves as  a fun self portrait,  o(;-]}  Gua incorporates the images, aesthetics and ideas he's grown up with, intermixing them and challenging some. I've become a big fan of Troy Gua, as he embodies the humble spirit that typically accompanies true genius! Find out more about Le Petit Prince and Gua's artistic perspective in my interview below!

You’re a self taught artist? How did you learn?

Yeah, but I kinda like the term "self-actualized". I didn’t really "teach" myself, I watched and I studied. And then I tried it myself. And then I did it again and again. I’m still learning, everyday. I think when we stop learning, we die. I came out of the womb wanting to make things, I think. I’ve always just had this passion and desire to create, and I really think that’s what you need to be happy with anything you do - passion and desire.

What is your favorite medium?

The way I work is this: I either have a fully-formed concept appear in my head or I mentally ‘build’ whatever piece I’m thinking of until complete, and then I set about realizing that vision. It’s problem solving, really. So my favorite medium is whatever the party calls for. In other words, none and all.

What prompted you to make the Prince doll?

I knew years ago that I’d make LPP (Le Petit Prince), but because Prince is SO important to me, I knew the detail and perfection I would have to aim for would be daunting, so I put it on the back-burner. After a successful but frustrating year of work in my hometown of Seattle, I just wanted to create something that would make me smile. I’d fallen into a bit of a rut in which I was making work that was taking me away from the reason I wanted to make art to begin with - to engage people, to make people think and laugh, to express myself to as many people as possible by opening up as many access points as possible. But LPP was not about this either - it was simply for fun. The way it has erupted and touched so many absolutely blows my mind.

How long did it take you to make the doll?

Not long. Most of the time is spent thinking about a project before I actually start it. All told, start to finish, LPP probably took about four days.

How long did it take to recreate all the looks? (clothes, settings, album covers…)

Well, the bare sculpture/doll was finished December 28th, and everything you see on the site (and a lot that I haven’t shown yet) has been made since. I’m still working on more looks and recreations, and each one varies in detail and complexity. The Sign o’ the Times album cover set and the Purple Rain motorcycle have taken the longest - a week or two each.

How did you get it sooo accurate? (The features are amazing!)

I’m just that good. o(;-]} Seriously, I’ve been looking at that face for so many years I could probably do it in my sleep.

When can we expect Apollonia in the Purple Rain poster?

I’ve got the materials, I just need to carve out the time to do it. I’m so consumed with making images for the book that I haven’t been able to bring myself to carve that time yet. I want to recreate scenes from ‘Purple Rain’ with her and LPP as well - aw hell, I want to recreate the entire movie!

Have you heard from Prince about it? (Or any Prince protégés?)

Not a boo. I’ve heard from celebrities and former band members and associates, but no one in the current camp.

If Prince asked you for it, would you give it to him?

I don’t know. That’s a tough one. I don’t think so. I made it for me, not him. I’d love to give him a book, or a print, or go into business with him to reproduce the sculpture/doll, but LPP is kinda priceless to me. I’d love to hear what he feels about it, and I’d love for him to know that I made it as a loving and humorous tribute, but I don’t think I could *give* it away. But if he offered the right price... o(;-]}

A Le Petit Prince picture book is coming—tell us about it.

I want it to be an amazing keepsake in lieu of having a reproduction of the sculpture/doll. The images I’m creating are the essence of the project, and to have them all compiled in a handsome book will be amazing. I’m trying to make contacts and gain interest from publishers while I continue to work on images, but I haven’t had any bites yet. There’s a perfect match out there for this book, I just need to find it - or it needs to find me. The original plan was to self-publish, but I really believe this project deserves the wide distribution and high end production that a publishing house can provide.

Any plans to recreate other icons? (I’ve seen the Michael Jackson doll.)

No plans, really. I’ve thought about David Bowie and Lady Gaga, mostly because of their many looks, and I have made others - myself, my wife, Salvador Dali, Michael Jackson, but they were all just warm-ups for LPP. And I don’t want to take anything away from LPP. He was made out of desire and passion, and to force those emotions would be inauthentic.

To find out more about Troy Gua , his Le Petit Prince project and his other amazing works, click here !

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