Utah painter captures Jazz successful season in portraits
SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Jazz and rookie sensation Donovan Mitchell have been one of the stories of the year in the NBA, and a local painter has been ‘capturing’ the team’s success in a unique way.
“(It’s a) Utah Jazz series,” Daniela Lopez said of her large, acrylic portraits of Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell. “They’re in a really special time, and I really wanted to capture the moment they’re in right now.”
Lopez was surveying fans who stopped by her exhibit Friday at the Art Walk at Nordstrom City Creek Center to see who her next Jazz portrait may depict — perhaps Ricky Rubio, Joe Ingles or Derrick Favors.
Lopez, who signs each painting with her childhood nickname, ‘Yella,’ puts extreme detail into her work — even depicting the sweat beading up on the players.
“I still don’t understand how she can create sweat on a man’s face!” exclaimed Lopez’ mother, Delores Pahl.
Lopez said she generally likes her portraits to capture players in the middle of the action.
“I really like the mid-game plays, you know, with the sweat and the passion — like he’s about to take a shot or he’s on the 3-point line,” Lopez explained.
Her own star has been rising around the NBA since being commissioned to do a portrait for Houston Rockets great Yao Ming for his jersey retirement ceremony last year.
“It was just a dream come true!” said Lopez, whose brother has always been a Rockets fan.
Lopez subsequently did a portrait of current Rockets star James Harden.
“He purchased that one and gave it to his mom for Mother’s Day last year,” Lopez said.
Pahl said her daughter had been painting since a young age, but her success in her newfound career has still amazed her.
“(It’s) self-taught!” the mother beamed.
Lopez said she hoped her work was an inspiration to others to follow their dreams.
“Just never give up on yourself and your dreams,” Lopez said. “That’s the message I want to tell people, because it’s possible.”