Our sister paper LA Weekly was first to visit what was Michael Jackson's top-secret Santa Monica art studio. What used to be an airport hangar houses Jackson's art collection, which is now owned by Australian monument builder and Jackson's art mentor Brett Livingstone-Strong (in conjunction with the Jackson estate).
The value of the collection--made up of drawings and paintings that Jackson created--has been pegged to $900 million based on sales of reproductions. Strong has begun to reveal the art, about 150 to 160 pieces, as part of Jackson's dream of organizing a museum exhibit.
What's in the collection? Check out pictures after the jump.
1. A Michael Jackson monument that Strong and Jackson co-designed.
Strong explains, "He wanted his fans to be able to get married at a monument that would have all of his music [in an archive, and playing on speakers], to inspire some of his fans."
|(Here's the monument mock-up, featuring miniature pilgrims and a bridal couple.)|
2. His portrait of Bubbles, his pet chimpanzee (a monkey-like face vanishing into a cushy, ornate lounge chair).
"He loved chairs," says Strong. "He thought chairs were the thrones of most men, women and children, where they made their decisions for their daily activity. He was inspired by chairs. Rather than just do a portrait of the monkey, he put it in the chair. And you see, there are a few sevens -- because he's the seventh child."
|Portrait of Bubbles, Jackson's beloved pet chimpanzee|
3. MJ's portrait of George Washington, created as Strong was working with the White House to commemorate the bicentennial of the Constitution back in 1987.
These pieces reveal that Jackson was a technically talented artist, completely self-taught.The story says Jackson turned to art as times got hard for him, and was kept under wraps for such a long time simply because of the pedophilia scandal, which erupted right around the time that he was looking for a way to publicize the works,18 years ago. Strong says, "It was quite private to him. I think he retreated into it when he was being attacked by those accusations against him."
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|Jackson's sketch of an airplane at the Santa Monica airport|
Read the whole story here:"Michael Jackson's Art and Studio, Revealed for the First Time" and view the slideshow here.