Sunday, July 19, 2015

Kent Twitchell's Smooth Criminal Mural ♥

♥ UPDATE: MJ fans need to know this information. There are NO donations being taken at this time to install the Smooth Criminal Mural anywhere.  The article below was a fun and exciting event for MJ fans last summer... BUT all has not worked out for this installation.

In the future it is our hope that we may see this incredible mural respectfully installed somewhere... but for now all plans for the installation via the Museum of San Fernando Valley and the Marriott are no longer in effect.

In time when the mural is finally and definitely installed it will be with respect and integrity for Michael's memory... and Kent Twitchell the artist who personally worked with MJ to create it.

*** If you are asked for donations for the mural installation give at your own risk. That money will NOT be going toward the installation of this mural on the Marriott in San Fernando Valley, Calif. 


Kent Twitchell's 10-story, Michael Jackson, Smooth Criminal mural may soon be a major new Michaeling spot near Michael’s family home.

The installation of this incredible art piece has been a LONG time coming... since the '90s when Michael worked closely with Kent to create this one of a kind art piece. This spectacular piece of art has been rolled up and stored away for over a decade in Kent Twitchell’s Los Angeles warehouse; however to the joy and bliss of MJ fans around the world portions of this 60 ft. x 100 ft. tall mural are now on display in the galleries of The Museum of The San Fernando Valley.

Courtyard Marriott Hotel, pic of envisioned installation
Michael lived in and called the Hayvenhurst compound in the San Fernando Valley (SFV) home for many years. This bustling valley which is just northwest of Hollywood lays conveniently just over the hill from the Hollywood and Beverly Hills sound studios where he spent much time creating his master pieces. Michael also owned a condo close by Hayvenhurst which he used as a safe and private getaway, a place to store some of his ever growing art and sculpture collection, business and friend meetings and sometimes met media for an interview in the condo. In addition he established a business office for MJJ Productions near by Hayvenhurst on Ventura Blvd. He worked, shopped, visited the local Barnes and Noble book store, doctor and dentist in the SFV, and walked his pet llama on the streets of SFV... all those everyday, normal things that we do... well except walk our pet llamas. He also created his magic in the Hayvenhurst compound recording studio he had specially built. He choreographed parts of the infamous Billie Jean dance routine in the kitchen of Hayvenhurst before the 30th Motown Anniversary TV show and he wrote Liberian Girl in the home studio, after playing pinball upstairs in his room and becoming inspired raced down to the recording studio to write the song. So much MJ history happened in the San Fernando Valley that it is so very fitting that the Smooth Criminal Mural be installed in a prime location of the SFV. The chosen display wall of the Courtyard Marriott Hotel faces the 405 freeway as you enter SFV from the south. In this prime location MJ's mural will be seen daily by over 330,000 cars coming and going each rush hour... morning and night.

Simply Must Dance and Sing Along when MJ's music comes on!

Just in time for the kick off of MJ Tribute week in June the MJ fans were graciously invited to the soft opening of Kent’s MJ mural on June 19, 2015 at The Museum of The San Fernando Valley. Among the other art work from valley museum members and historic pictures from other Hollywood celebrities who also lived in the SFV over the past decades portions of MJ’s mural now hold a prime spot. Here you are able to see up close the incredible dot detail of the mural which when you step back gives the look and feel of a photograph.

Can You Feel It? Museum attendees and staff experienced the joy of MJ fans listening to Michael’s music as we gathered for a group photo but instead broke into a spontaneous expression of joy when MJ’s music began to play and we automatically began to dance and sing along.

♥ MJ Glittery Tattoo Meet and Greet 2015:

Also during the kick off for June 2015 MJ Tribute Week the MJFSC fans were very honored to have Kent Twitchell attend the MJ Glittery Tattoo Meet and Greet 2015 on June 21st at the Universal Sheraton. Kent kindly sat with us and shared stories about the creation of the mural and working with Michael. 

Kent and MJ go over pics at MJ's Studio City Condo in SFV
Mural Photo Shoot
Michael and Kent met at Kent's warehouse studio and Michael’s condo among other places to work on this mural. In speaking with Kent he shared that the two mulled over many different themes for the mural and when Kent suggested the '20s mobster theme Michael just loved it, his eyes lit up and he became very excited suggesting the Smooth Criminal suit. Kent confirmed and felt that the white, Smooth Criminal suit would work perfectly. The contrast with the white suit, Michael's skin tone and the many colors of blue including the azure blue California sky would really make the mural pop. As with all things MJ he wanted to make a huge statement and impact, so vivid, bright colors where chosen to contrast with the white suit. Michael and Kent personally created exclusive, MJ mural paint colors. These unique and vivid, one of a kind, paint colors were created in New York and cannot be seen anywhere else in the world... vivid blues, skin tone colors and whites special ordered under lock and key. Paint colors exclusive only to MJ and will always remain so as MJ holds the rights still today. Also Kent shared that after the installation is complete on the Courtyard Marriott Hotel wall there will be a very special, strong sealant applied which will protect the mural from smog, weather and general wear. This very same sealant was applied to Michaelangelo's Sistine Chapel artwork in Italy after their recent restorations. Also the bottom of the mural will hit the top of the second floor which will also protect and keep it out of reach from vandalism.

All of Kent's murals are created from photos so several meetings took place over a span of five years, spending many hours creating together, brain storming, holding photo shoots, discussing the creation and presentation, and what building would be best suited for the mural. Kent rode with Michael in MJ’s car several times traveling around the SFV, Hollywood, Los Angeles areas looking for the right building or just going out to eat... and yes Michael drove and according to Kent did a fine job of driving. Ultimately they chose the side of the El Capitan Theater in Hollywood just across the street and down a bit from MJ’s Hollywood Star. This plan as we now know never came to fruition.

 I am a person who believes everything happens for a reason... so maybe the final installation place was meant to be in an even more advantageous place?

Kent's respect for Michael shown clearly as he told me how Michael always made everyone who worked for him feel like HE was the one working for them, always concerned if they were comfortable or needed anything, never raising his voice and always saying please and thank you. He  affirmed what so many who knew Michael have shared, that Michael was the kindest person he had ever met and was always so considerate of those around him asking over and over what he could do for them, always asking did they need him to do anything else. Fondly smiling Kent revealed that Michael had told him he envisioned himself as a sort of modern day P.T. Barnum.

Michael invited Kent to stay in the cottage at Neverland. At Neverland they spent many hours working on the creation of the mural or just talking and relaxing on the grounds. They both shared a deep love of classical music... another reason why Michael and Kent must have hit it off so well. Not only is Kent like Michael a kind, considerate, gentle human being but also he like Michael appreciates the beauty of classical music. Kent fondly recounted that at Neverland you could hear music everywhere. Michael had classical music playing for him inside and out, surrounding them everywhere, as it came out of the rocks and trees... and even the rides.

Original building choice as it would have looked
installed on the El Capitan Theater

It was fascinating to learn from Kent that the original mural installation would have included one of MJ's personally, conjured up state of the art special affects. Michael had requested a special cloud making machine which would have created a smoke affect coming up from MJ's feet. Although on the Hollywood site it would have been an incredible special affect this will not be possible with the new installation... yes I asked. ;)  However there is going to be one unintentional added affect with the Courtyard Marriott installation. On the side of the building is an elevator shaft, the wall needs to be flat to install the mural, so plans are in process for construction of wedges to be inserted along each side of the shaft on the outside of the building. This will create a slightly convex, curved feel when the mural is installed. This slight curve will hopefully create a feeling of MJ pushing his chest out.

Kent holding the little book about the mural which
is available for purchase to help support the installation
Kent signs a picture for Albert in the Netherlands via Joan
Group pic with Kent at the MJ Glittery Tattoo Event 2015
MJ Fans choosing their glitter tattoos

Kent Twitchell's website

A Guide Map to Kent Twitchell's L.A. Area Murals

** Well worth the read!
This is a link to a wonderful Los Angeles Times article by Deborah Vankin about Kent Twitchell:

[article excerpt] As is the fleeting nature of street art, many of these works no longer exist, but more than a dozen of Twitchell's murals are still up — often seen from major freeway intersections, familiar landmarks to Angelenos traversing the city.

Another article on Culture Monster from Los Angeles Times: