Thursday, July 18, 2019

Purple Rain

In March of 2019 John Hurst celebrated his 50th birthday along with his twin sister Alecia at the Abbey (100 S Eola Drive, Suite 100, Orlando, Florida 32801). The party was actually a surprise orchestrated by John wife Chimene Pindar Hurst. As she said, " I have done what any self-respecting wife of John would do, and hired an amazing Prince impersonator (Sir Jac) with his full band, horn section, sexy backup dancers, the whole shebang. We have seen him perform and it’s really fun. I booked The Abbey (100 S Eola Dr #100, Orlando, FL 32801) for the night, a cool venue around the corner from us where they will play and we can do it up all night! Full bar, projector, stage, [and a] great sound system."

When Pam and I arrived there was a thong around John and the venue was packed. I decided to slip through the crowd and find a seat on the sidelines with a view of the stage. I sketched the stage as the band set up. Once they began to perform I placed each performer into the scene in turn. One of the back up performers was a performer and model I had sketched at other events. She had a great voice but was limited in her dancing moves by a pair of very high platform shoes. The prince impersonator (Joey Colon) himself was full of energy. He performed non stop for the duration of the evening. He has been performing as Prince in The U.S.A. for over 10 years. There is an uncanny resemblance, with every body movement sound being like the Purple Legend.

Orlando seems to be a hub for impersonators perhaps because of the theme parks. Anyway the band was great and I tried to capture a fraction of the high energy performance. AS they performed Purple Rain, I covered the sketch in Purple washes. John found me hard at work and introduced me to his twin sister. Back in high school in Tenafly, New Jersey, I studied American History with John's dad. As extra credit for that class I built a scale model of a dutch settlement home out of sandstone blocks that I cut using a tile saw. When John and I worked together at Disney we discovered that one degree of separation. The world is a small place.

John really is a Prince fanatic. John resisted social media for the longest time. After the party I began noticing that he posts some Prince related trivia every day on Twitter. He was on the dance floor throughout the night and when he was asked to get on stage. He held his own playing guitar and singing. John works for the animation industry as a storyboard artist but he might have missed his calling as a rock and roll star. The birthday cake was shaped as a purple frosted guitar. Drinks flowed and by the end of the evening Pam and I were dancing as well. It was a fun night and I got to see a side of John that I had never seen before.

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at

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