What sort of birthday gift do you get someone who has it all: once-in-a-generation talent, a $77 million dollar contract and a name that’s known around the world? For Odell Beckham Jr.'s 27th birthday, the answer was fitting: A one-of-a-kind portrait by artist Ashley Longshore.
The New Orleans-based Longshore has been grabbing headlines in recent years for her colorful, energetic, Warhol-esqe, pop art paintings. Subjects have included everyone from Ruth Bader Ginsberg to Anna Wintour to Lil Wayne, while clients include Blake Lively, Salma Hayek and the Manning family, including two-time Superbowl MVP Eli.
“They have a shit ton of my art work,” says Longshore, who cites other sports figures including Drew Brees and Dallas Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle as supporters.
Beckham and Longshore (who unveiled the painting for OBJ in a surprise appearance in New York City) seem almost destined to collaborate. The Cleveland Browns receiver grew up in New Orleans, a place Longshore has called home for more than two decades.
Both are larger than life personalities, from OBJ’s outrageous Nike cleats (that he had to take off at halftime during a recent game with the Broncos), stockpiles of bling, and his outspokenness, to Longshore, the proudly Spanx-wearing, self-taught, sound-bite machine who refers to herself as unabashedly “ambitcheous.”
“Artists are like athletes,” she says. “You work hard and use your talent to do something great.” Not to mention OBJ has long had an interest in art. In the Big Easy, Beckham was constantly exposed to paintings, sculpture and the thriving creative scene. According to a childhood friend, he particularly loved Blue Dog paintings by George Rodriguez.
Now the future Hall-of-Famer has a memorable piece to hang in his new Cleveland home. “I wanted to capture Odell’s spirit,” says Longshore. “As cool and colorful and in-your-face as he is.”
In addition to Beckham Jr.’s countenance, the 60” x 48” painting features Gucci tigers, a bedazzled front tooth and larger-than-life hands. “More is more,” says Longshore with a laugh. “Less is a bore.”