Throughout his historic artistic career, iconic Pop artist Peter Max has portrayed the biggest celebrities in the world from the Beatles to Taylor Swift. Now, the legendary painter has taken on a star from another continent: China’s pop princess G.E.M.
On December 4, guests and media joined aboard Royal Caribbean International’s Quantum of the Seas in Shanghai, China to watch Park West Gallery unveil Max’s eye-popping portrait of G.E.M. Max and G.E.M. donated the artwork to the China Foundation of Culture and Arts for Children. Proceeds will go toward artistic enrichment for children in impoverished areas of China.
“Art and music are both universal languages which rise above all else to connect us as human beings,” Park West Gallery Executive Vice President of Sales Stoney Goldstein said. “Here, a bright shining star in the East meets a longtime legend of the West for a very special collaboration that will have an everlasting impact. Today, we all experienced something truly remarkable.”
The stunning portrait mimics the high energy of G.E.M.’s pop songs, pulling the viewer into the artwork like the catchy beat of her music. Max created the painting in his signature Pop art style with bright colors and bold brush strokes. The portrait was based off the singer’s latest album, “25LOOKS,” and features G.E.M. with a lollipop in front of her mouth.
“I’ve seen Peter Max’s work in galleries, and I loved his imaginary, bold and colorful art,” G.E.M. said. “It’s an honor to be involved, and I hope together we can all do something good for those less fortunate.”
As one of the best-selling female pop artists in Asia, G.E.M. — an acronym for Get Everybody Moving — is no stranger to the spotlight. The 25-year-old singer was named Asian Artist of the Year by Billboard in 2015 and has more than 300 million followers on social media. Even with G.E.M.’s impressive resume, the portrait from Peter Max stands out as a special thrill for the singer.
“I’m excited about being immortalized in a Peter Max painting, and having them unveiled in one of my most favorite cities,” G.E.M. said. “The strong feeling of connections might come from our childhood memories of the city.”
The two pop artists share a surprising childhood background. Max lived in Shanghai from 1938 to 1948, the same city where G.E.M. was born in 1991. Although he has painted some of the biggest celebrities of the century, Max says creating the portrait of G.E.M. was especially rewarding.
“I always paint while music blares in the background,” Max says. “Painting G.E.M. was a special thrill as she is extremely talented and we grew up in the same city—many years apart of course!”