By Cherri Gregg, Jan Carabeo
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A Philadelphia “pop” artist is the man behind the official World Meeting of Families portrait of Pope Francis.
The painter says the honor comes from a higher power.
“This was true divine intervention,” says Perry Milou. The Philadelphia native says his life filled with so-called divine coincidences. He was born on St. Francis Day, October 4th. His daughter’s name is Francesca. And his infant son, to be name Francesco, is due to be born the week Pope Francis arrives in Philadelphia.
“I believe at this time in my life, it was just destined for this to happen,” says Milou.
He calls his work “pop” art. He uses a technique that combines illustration and fine art to create vibrant pieces of popular images. In February, after hearing that Pope Francis was coming to Philadelphia, he says he studied thousands of photos of the Pontiff. Milou says he was inspired to create “A Prayer for Peace” depicting the Pope blowing a kiss to the world.
“I caught lightning in a bottle and was done the oil painting in eight hours,” he says, “it’s the greatest portrait I have painted to date in my entire career.”
He sent the image to officials at the World Meeting of Families. They licensed it, along with the painting “Holy Day,” which depicts the Pope outside of the Philadelphia Art Museum. The work is now featured on t-shirts, mugs, tote bags and posters.
“It really has been an amazing beautiful ride,” says Milou, “it’s just a blessing…It’s just a blessing.”
“A Prayer for Peace” is for sale for $1 million with much of the proceeds designated for charity.
To purchase some of the products featuring Milou’s work, visit: http://shop.worldmeeting2015.org/popefrancis.