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Arts & Music

Tampa pop artist O’Keefe paints homage to Walter White

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Published:   |   Updated: September 27, 2013 at 10:04 AM

Looking for a really bad painting to hang on your wall?

If you’re a fan of the AMC series “Breaking Bad,” this just may be the piece for you.

Renowned pop culture artist David O’ Keefe’s latest work, “Who’s Bad?”, was inspired by the show’s lead character, Walter White, and the late Michael Jackson.

The original oil painting features White (played by actor Bryan Cranston) in the King of Pop’s iconic pose from the cover of his 1987 album “Bad.”

“It’s pop culture badness at its best,” said O’Keefe, 52. “(Breaking Bad) just won an Emmy, so it has to be doing something right.”

O’Keefe, who began watching earlier this year at his daughter’s urging, said he was immediately hooked on the series about a terminally ill chemistry teacher turned meth lord.

The series, which took home Emmy awards this week for Outstanding Drama Series and Outstanding Supporting Actress (Anna Gunn), will end its five-year run Sunday.

“I had no intention of doing a piece,” said the Brandon resident. “But the more I got into it, the more I kept thinking of Michael Jackson’s ‘Who’s Bad?’ It just seemed like pop culture at its very best for the two icons to meet.”

An editorial illustrator for more than 25 years, O’Keefe began his art career at The Tampa Tribune and spent several years as the newsroom’s special-projects illustrator.

After he puts the final varnish on the 18-by-24-inch painting, which took him two weeks to create, it will sell for $4,000 in his St. Armand’s Circle gallery in Sarasota. A limited number pf 24-by-32-inch prints will sell for $649 each at his Channelside gallery, and online at www.davidokeefe.com. T-shirts with the image are also available on the website; they cost $22, plus $4.95 for shipping.

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