Michael & Lisa Marie Presley
By Mr David Nordahl
In November, 1994, I spent 2 weeks with Michael and Lisa Marie at the Trump Towers in New York. I was there to work on 2 projects for Michael while he was in the recording studio. Michael and Lisa Marie were great together and a lot of fun to be with.
In 1995 Michael asked me to do a painting of the 2 of them. Not one to do a normal portrait, he came up with a creative vision of how he wanted to portray their love for each other. Michael gave me a list of things he would like to see in the painting. I made a sketch and sent the original to him. He called me when he received it. He said he loved it and not to change a thing except to make the castle more “fanciful”. At this time, I was working on 3 or 4 projects for Michael. I asked if I should set aside these projects in favor of this painting. Michael told me to finish what I was working on and to do the painting afterwards.
Sadly, by the time I got around to this painting, Michael and Lisa Marie had separated.
Camelot is the most famous castle and court associated with the legendary King Arthur. Absent in the early Arthurian material, Camelot first appeared in 12th-century French romances and eventually came to be described as the fantastic capital of Arthur’s realm and a symbol of the Arthurian world. The stories locate it somewhere in Britain and sometimes associate it with real cities, though more usually its precise location is not revealed. Most scholars regard it as being entirely fictional, its geography being perfect for romance writers; Arthurian scholar Norris J. Lacy commented that “Camelot, located no where in particular, can be anywhere”. Nevertheless arguments about the location of the “real Camelot” have occurred since the 15th century and continue to rage today in popular works and for tourism purposes.
The Lovers” was inspired by John Waterhouses’s “Hylas and the Nymphs,” painted in 1897. The painting depicts a romantic couple, Jackson and Presley, surrounded by young fairy nymphs, in an enchanting forest lagoon filled with ferns and flowers. The painting depicts a moment in Greek mythology where Hylas is lured into the spring by the nymphs as showed by the nymph pulling Michael by the arm and into the spring. Jackson and Strong chose to create this painting due to Jackson’s own persona of peace and love as the scene in the painting is as Jackson saw himself in Greek mythology and immortality. What has been perceived as a controversial painting is in fact a magical and romantic masterpiece of such depths that few have understood until now.
An Original Oil on Board by Brett-Livingstone Strong
The painting depicts a romantic couple surrounded by young fairy nymphs, in an enchanting, forest lagoon filled with ferns and flowers. The young couple in the painting is Michael Jackson and Lisa Marie Presley, who began their romance after an introduction by the artist. A small delicate fairy casts a beam of light on the two lovers. The exotic, colorful setting includes hummingbirds, butterflies, frogs, orchids, lilies and tropical flowers.
~~ This original oil painting is signed by the artist, dated ’95 and elegantly framed. ~~
Michael portrayed in Greek mythology
A little known fact is that this artwork is a modern day remake of the world renowned painting by John William Waterhouse (1849-1917) entitled “Hylas and the Nymphs” and painted in 1897. This scene has also been recreated by other artists, most notably by Henrietta Rae. You will find photos of both these works on this website. The painting depicts a moment in Greek mythology where Hylas is lured into the spring by the nymphs. Notice the nymph pulling Michael by the arm and into the spring. Michael and Brett chose to recreate this magical and mythical scene due to Michael’s own persona of peace and love. It is as if Michael saw himself in Greek mythology and immortality. What has been perceived to be a controversial painting is in fact a magical and romantic masterpiece of such depths few have understood until now.
A brief history about Hylas: In Greek mythology, beautiful youth. He was the son of Theiodamas, king of the Dryopes, and friend of Heracles. Heracles took him along on the Argonauts Expedition. When they reached the shores of Mysia, Hylas went ashore to find water. He found a spring, but the Nymphs of the water lured him into the deep. Hylas fell in love with the nymphs and remained with them to share in their powers..
You are not alone
July 12, 1995
Michael and Lisa Marie shoot the video for You Are Not Alone and they also appear on the cover of Jet magazine. The director says that Michael was too shy to ask her to participate himself, but considering there was tension between them at the time, it might have had less to do with him being shy and more to do with the relationship being strained.
Michael is a fan of Maxfield Parrish’s 1922 painting “Daybreak,” which was what inspired their YANA video.
Director of YANA, Wayne Isham, videostatic.com interview:
“Having done videos for so long, nothing strikes me as strange anymore. Everything has a unique twist. But, the one that ranks at the top is probably Michael Jackson “You Are Not Alone.” We had planned out all these elements for the video and then Michael had this idea where he wanted to use this Greek, classical-styled, artistic imagery. And, he wanted to appear in it naked with his wife, Lisa Marie Presley. Like they were Greek gods. It had nothing to do with the video we were doing, but I said, “OK, that’s cool. We can shoot it.” We set it up and as we’re ready to shoot, he leads me into the trailer and says,
“Have you asked her?” He wanted me to ask her to appear in the video. He was too shy. So I asked. And we did it.”
It took 5 days to complete shooting of the clip “You Are Not Alone”, plus another 5 days to edit and create the special effects.
According to director Wayne Isham, the very last scene of Michael and Lisa Marie was filmed without the couple’s knowledge.