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Artist reflects on Kobe Bryant painting one year after his death

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    GREENSBORO, N.C. (WXII) — A Greensboro artist is commemorating Kobe Bryant’s life through art.

One year ago Kobe and his daughter, Gianna and seven others died in a helicopter crash. Following Kobe’s death, Monique Johnson took a 36 x 36 canvas and decided to paint a portrait of Kobe.

Johnson stands at two feet tall and has a rare form of dwarfism. She hopes the painting continues to inspire others to follow their God given talents, go big and never give up.

“Having a canvas that towers over me 36 by 3 might not be big for you all, but this was like a mural for me, to reach it I had to find innovative ways to move the canvas and position it so I could reach it comfortably. To make a straight line or make his eyebrow properly and blend, so yeah I had to be creative and overcome challenges,” Johnson said.

Johnson shared her thoughts on the mamba mentality. She added, “What fascinates me with Kobe is he’s not just an amazing basketball player, he was able to take his God given gifts and talents and magnify them in such a way that people from all walks of life were inspired by and empowered by the mamba mentality.”

Johnson said there were challenges during the two week time frame it took her to complete the painting.

“Everyone will have trials and tribulations in their life, but what will you do when you’re feeling that way? For me I chose to realize it and identify it and then counteract with pushing through and having a go getter mentality. I believe Kobe exhibited that and I intend to do the same.”

The canvas is with Johnson in Greensboro right now, but at some point she hopes to reach the Bryant family and give the painting to Vanessa Bryant and her children.

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