Melbourne-based artist Danielle Weber opened up this morning about her eight-year-long friendship with the 50-year-old wrestler-turned-actor to David Campbell and Sylvia Jeffreys on Today Extra, and revealed how he supports her work beyond words.
Weber, who has gained a monumental following due to her life-like portraits of celebrities, told Today Extra how she captured Johnson’s attention, and how he approached her with a “big idea” that saw her artwork displayed for the whole world to see at the Black Adam premiere.
Watch the video above.
“He saw an Instagram post of a piece I did of him and then I was fortunate enough to meet him in 2015 on the set of one of his movies in Boston, and we’ve just remained in touch since, and he’s been a huge supporter of my art,” Weber said.
The first painting that caught Johnson’s attention was one Weber had done of Johnson in his wrestling days, which is when he drew attention to it and reached out to Weber.
Weber then did another artwork for him to say thank you for taking the time to spotlight her work, painting a photo of the actor and his mother – which Johnson bought off her, and Johnson’s mother still displays in her house.
Weber said the duo had developed a friendship over the years and “have a chat” every now and then to touch base about what’s going on in each other’s lives.
The artist then described the moment earlier this year when Johnson reached out to her with a “big idea” for a “massive moment [they could] create together.”
And they did. “He said, ‘D, I’ve got this idea, I really would love to a piece for my new movie Black Adam‘, and in classic ‘D&D’ style – we call each other both D – we did leave it to the last-minute,” Weber recalled.
“He just said, ‘Look, we’ve got a little bit more time, the movie’s been pushed back to October so we can come up with something amazing, something powerful’ and before we knew it, October had arrived, and I had one week to complete this incredible piece.”
Weber ended up painting a life-like portrait of Johnson to present to him at the global Black Adam premiere in New York City’s Times Square.
She said she first created a rough draft, and recalled how Johnson explained the importance of the character Black Adam and the significance of the hieroglyphics, and the history of them.
After presenting a “really rough” draft to Johnson, Weber said Johnson had “full trust” in her for the piece and prior to her presenting it to him on the black carpet, he hadn’t seen the finished artwork.
Weber said her life was “very different” when she first met Johnson, and spoke about what his support has meant to her in giving her work exposure to the world.
“It’s been an unbelievable journey, as anyone knows, it’s not easy to make it as an artist, and make it a living,” Weber said.
“Before I met him, I was a broke uni student, and I wasn’t sure if it was something that I could make a living out of, but he’s taught me hard work and discipline, which has led to incredible opportunities.
“He taught me to be patient with my craft and know that it’s not short journey. He’s said to me, ‘It’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon’, so it’s been unbelievable to have him as a mentor and a friend.'”
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