Portraits of a Different Kind


It has always interested me as to why certain folks become cultural icons. Is it the media, the public, the person themselves or just being in the right place at the right time? We know them well. Many by a single name. Ali, Oprah, Elvis, Barrack, Sinatra, the list goes on and on.

Marilyn Monroe

Then there is Norma Jean Mortenson, better known as Marilyn Monroe. Many artists have captured her in their work, none more famously than Andy Warhol. I did a Google search to see how many different artists have portrayed her. On fineartamerica.com there were 2,489 pieces listed and it seems everyone loves Norma Jean.

Born on June 1, 1926 she was an actress, model and singer famous for playing comedic roles as the “blonde bombshell.” She was a top billed actress for more than a decade grossing over $200 million at the time, yet her private life was filled with troubles and failed marriages to Joe DiMaggio and playwright Arthur Miller.

Norma Jean Mortenson died on August 4, 1962 from an overdose of barbiturates at her home in Los Angeles.


Without Warhol’s famous Pop Art, Diptych of Marilyn Monroe, owned by the Tate who knows if Monroe’s icon stature would have lasted. The Pop Art culture was born out of a movement in London by artists who were attracted to advertisements that depicted the American mass culture and materialistic needs. Warhol depicted women and starlets of the time and their relationship to the commercialism of the era. In his painting of the Diptych along with countless versions of her image he produced, I believe he created a wave of popularity that has never waned. Just think on one website almost 2,500 artists have portrayed Monroe.

Warhol and his entourage were masters of creating a buzz about anything they did, and many notable stars sought him out to portray them as he did with Marilyn Monroe.


William is an artist living in Austin, Texas and San Miguel de Allende, Mexico who puts his heart and soul into depicting well known musical figures and other high-profile personalities. I’ve known Bill for a short time via a web organization we subscribe to (Art Storefronts) and he gave me some insight before I signed on.

I recognized Bill as an accomplished artist with a style that was unique. When I saw his portrait of Marilyn, I knew he would be part of an article I would write in the future. His story is full of twists and turns like many of us however he has found his niche and like Andy Warhol pushes it hard whether he is doing a commission piece or something on his own.

In his own words regarding his work in his Sacred Heart Series which Marilyn Monroe is a part of he states, “I try to capture each artists essence. I’m not just painting a dollar bill. I have to feel it. Study it. Understand it. Then, hopefully channel the spirit, the essence, of who I am painting…. Why people connect with what I do. I think they sense the honesty in it.”
You can check out
Bill’s website and purchase prints, originals or commission him to do a portrait for you of anyone you desire, even an iconic figure you admire on his website by CLICKING HERE.


When I came up with this idea of talking about the many faces of Marilyn Monroe, I never even thought I would put myself in the article. I’ve gone through many art transformations over the years and recently was asked if I did portraits in my unique style of floral art. Honestly, I had been contemplating introducing people into my work for over a year.

It was in mid-June that I was really feeling down about how things were going in the world with the Covid Crisis, Black Lives Matter and a government with little direction. I had a James Taylor song playing while I was figuring out what to do on a canvas. That was the moment and my James Taylor painting happened. After that the next person who came into my mind was Marilyn Monroe. I think as a young boy growing up, Marilyn was always in front of our eyes. I still remember seeing the news item when she sang happy birthday to Jack Kennedy and then of course was always drawn to Warhol’s depiction of her. 

I believe my impressionistic style utilizing what I’ve learned over the years works well with portrait work. Recently I’ve set up a page on my website exclusively for portrait commissions and will soon set up a page where I put up my own tribute paintings to iconic personalities.

If you would like to consider a portrait you can find more information by CLICKING HERE.


Read this article from the Eden Gallery from September, 2019 entitled “Marilyn Monroe:The Face of Modern Art."  To read the article CLICK HERE.

Another good read from 2016 is an article from Phaidon.com titled, “How Warhol turned Marilyn Monroe into a Star.” To read the article CLICK HERE.

Wikipedia information on the life of Marilyn Monroe gives a good account of her life. 
To read the article CLICK HERE.

Blog written by David Dauer at dbDauerStudioStore.com ©August,2020