By Devlin Smith
Southern California artist Azalea Millet has donated hand-signed and numbered limited-edition prints of two of her paintings of Bono to the African Well Fund. The prints will be sold for $50 each to benefit the Build a Well for Bono's Birthday fundraiser's goal of raising $50,000 to fund a clean water and sanitation project in Zimbabwe in honor of Bono's 50th birthday.
The first print, numbers 6 through 100 of 100, was originally created for the Bono Street Team's recent pre-Build a Well for Bono's Birthday fundraiser and features Bono holding an African child and the quote, "This is our moment ... to stand up for what's right," from the 2005 Live8 concert. The second, numbers 1 through 50 of 50, is a print of a painting featuring Bono and the lyric, "We're one but we're not the same. We get to carry each other." The original painting was signed by Bono for Millet and the print will feature a reproduction of the singer's signature.
Millet answered a few questions about her artwork and why she wanted it to be used to raise money for the African Well Fund.
How long have you been a painter?
Painting is a new passion for me. I discovered my love of art a few years ago when I took my first drawing class just for fun. I started painting pictures of Bono as practice and was pleasantly surprised when they ended up looking better than I expected.
What inspired you to create these portraits of Bono and U2?
I have always been inspired by music, U2 in particular. I wanted to create strong yet fun pieces that would appeal to U2 fans and this was a way to express my creativity through something that is close to my heart.
How do you choose the lyric or quote that appears on each portrait?
U2 songs have special meaning which allows each fan to interpret the lyrics in their own way. I appreciate how Bono incorporates his faith into songs using Biblical references. To me, U2 lyrics express faith, love and hope, so I select lyrics that I feel best convey those messages. I enjoy listening for the spiritual aspect in the lyrics and I hope to encourage others to do the same.
Why did you want to create the painting that has been turned into a limited-edition print to be given away by the Bono Street Team and sold by AWF for the Build a Well for Bono's Birthday fundraiser?
I admire Bono Street Team for their dedication in helping raise awareness of the devastation caused by poverty and their support of Bono's activism. I was thrilled when my friend Dion Simte, founder of Bono Street Team, contacted me to paint a picture to be given away as an incentive for their fundraiser. God gives each one of us gifts and I have been blessed with the chance to put mine to good purpose.
What was the inspiration for this piece?
The inspiration comes from this warm moment when Bono holds this African child, showing his love, compassion and devotion to helping those in need. Bono's commitment to his calling has motivated me to search my heart and put my own faith into action.
What are the dimensions of the prints?
Original artwork is done in gouache painting on 10- x 15-inch size illustration board and reproduced on 11- x 17-inch size, medium surface, white paper.
In addition to creating this limited-edition piece, you are also donating 100 percent of the proceeds from sales of your artwork through your website to AWF's Build a Well for Bono's Birthday fundraiser. Why did you want to make this additional donation?
Build a Well for Bono's Birthday fundraiser is a great occasion to take action for a cause and I wanted to make the most out of it. I have an enormous amount of respect and admiration for AWF and its mission to provide villages in Africa with clean water by building wells. I want to show my support by doing all I can to help them raise money to meet their goal of $50,000 for Bono's 50th birthday.
Your "Blessing" artwork is serving as the basis for the logos for Build a Well for Bono's Birthday. How does it feel to have your art used help promote this effort?
I am more than honored. It is such a privilege to be able to contribute to such a worthy cause and I'm so grateful for the opportunity to be of service.
To purchase Millet's limited-edition prints, or to learn more about Build a Well for Bono's Birthday, click here.