He’s short. He’s funky. And he would die 4 U.
One of Troy Gua’s smallest creations -- “Le Petit Prince,” an exhibit showcasing a 12-inch replica of the purple rocker in various states of awesome – is fast becoming the biggest draw for the Seattle artist.
Debuting late last year, the Prince exhibit has garnered national attention on Internet forums and websites dedicated to the Purple One.
“I’m a major Prince fan,” he says. “He’s really been a gigantic influence on my work since I was 12, 13 years old," Gua, who hopes to travel around the nation with the exhibit, tells HLN.
Contrary to popular belief, there is only one Petit Prince. "It’s just one figure, just like the real guy,” Gua says. But the exhibit is fluid: Fans from around the nation have been requesting different looks of the mini-star's mega career.
“I was getting messages from the people on Prince.org and other places, asking me to put him in this suit and that suit. I took them as challenges and started to do them,” he says. Presently the exhibit features Prince from the "Purple Rain" days to the "Love Sexy" phase and more.
Gua, who works in several different mediums, says the project came together with help from other influences. “If you’re familiar with Gerry Anderson’s work you’ll recognize the oversized head and eyes. He was known for really anatomically correct models with really cool qualities -- except they were a little off,” he said. "Also, the dudes that made ‘South Park’ (Trey Parker, Matt Stone and Pam Brady) made the 'Team America' movie and me and my buddy really got into that. From that time on I always knew I’d be making one of Prince but I knew that it would take so long because it would have to be perfect.”
Then Prince came to town.
“At the end of last year I was feeling kind of down, like I was in a bubble here in Seattle,” he says. “I had been trying to break out of the local art scene and had gotten sort of discouraged about the work I was making. I just wanted to make something fun for myself."
“My wife and I went to the concert he had here and my passion got rekindled and I said, ‘Now is the time to make this little dude,’ and it just took off from there.”
As for the material? “The head is made out of Sculpey, it’s a clay that you can bake in your oven. The body – they have these figures they make in Japan called Obitsu that you can assemble, they’re called ball-joint dolls," he said. "I had to paint him to match Prince’s tone and as for the chest hair and eyebrow, I used material from a sweater."
As for the future of the little Prince? “My biggest aspiration for these things would be to remake ‘Purple Rain’ – that would be so cool. It just makes sense.”