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Artist transforms Uptown tiger into Tiger King portrait of Joe Exotic - TribLIVE

Artist transforms Uptown tiger into  Tiger King  portrait of Joe Exotic - TribLIVE
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Pittsburgh artist Jeremy Raymer added to an old painting of a tiger’s head on this Uptown wall to create a portrait of “Joe Exotic,” the subject of Netflix’s popular documentary series “Tiger King: Murder, Madness and Mayhem.”

Submitted photos/Jeremy Raymer

This old tiger’s head painting was the inspiration for Pittsburgh artist Jeremy Raymer’s portrait of the “Tiger King,” Joe Maldonado-Passage, the subject of Netflix’s documentary series “Tiger King: Murder, Madness and Mayhem.”

Submitted photos/Jeremy Raymer

Pittsburgh artist Jeremy Raymer added to an old painting of a tiger’s head on this Uptown wall to create a portrait of “Joe Exotic,” the subject of Netflix’s popular documentary series “Tiger King: Murder, Madness and Mayhem.”

 

Pop culture is a big part of Jeremy Raymer’s art , and he knows the value of having a finger on the pulse of the cultural zeitgeist.

So when a friend mentioned the old tiger’s head, painted on a wall near the intersection of Moultrie Street and Tustin Street behind the Forbes Field Garage in Pittsburgh’s Uptown neighborhood, he knew exactly what it needed: a heaping helping of Joe Maldonado-Passage, probably more widely known at this point as the “Tiger King.”

“It was just a block down from my studio, and it was just too perfect,” said Raymer, a Pittsburgh resident.

“There were other photos of Joe that I liked a little better, but it was just so perfect with what was already there,” he said.

And for a piece of artwork that is nearly 12 feet tall, Raymer wrapped it up in short order.

“I worked about an hour on Saturday, came back at 9:30 a.m. Sunday and had photos to post by noon,” he said. “I wasn’t too keen on giving it that level of detail I usually try and get to.”

Despite doing his work already outfitted with an extremely convenient respirator, Raymer’s output has slowed a little amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“Three weeks ago, I had contracts signed for what was going to be my biggest year ever,” he said. “But my biggest project right now is tied to academic research, and I’m not quite sure what the status is.”

Raymer was in Los Angeles at the beginning of March, preparing for mural work up and down the California coast in addition to his first international piece in Bangkok, Thailand.

“But I canceled Bangkok before I left, and then things kind of went bananas,” he said. “I ended up flying back home to Pittsburgh.”

And while Raymer said 99% of his work is completely legal, either by commission or permission, artistic inspiration took hold for this particular project.

“That (tiger) mural was already there, and I knew that Pittsburgh people and those all around the world would love it,” he said. “I thought this time I’d ask forgiveness and not permission.”
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