Painter Dan Lacey, unofficial ambassador of Paisley Park who never went inside, dies at 61

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Dan Lacy has never seen Prince at a concert or owned his album. But on the day the music icon died in 2016, Lacy was forced to paint outside Chanhassen’s Paisley Park.

“I felt like drawing a big picture,” he said. “So I went there and installed it under a tree directly across the street. I felt this would be useful.”

Lacy of Elco New Market returned to Paisley every day to attend, painting the purple monument left by fans on the fence of Paisley.

With a humble and gentle tone, Lacy became an informal ambassador, cheering fans directly or through social media, and handing out some of his paintings by Prince.

Lacy died on Monday at Twin Cities Hospice, a glioblastoma brain tumor. He was 61 years old.

“Artistic and humanity has emerged in him,” Jean Bakken wrote on Lacy’s compassionate bridge site. “I just wanted to buy a portrait of Purple One. The purple color is a little less.”

Lacy’s compassionate bridge site contains comments from dozens of Prince families far from Australia and the Netherlands, as the Minnesota megastar called a fan. Social media accounts featured compliments.

“Dan was our purple concierge, and his absence would be immeasurable,” tweeted Gina Maxwell of Cleveland.

“Dan was very open and very accessible,” said Atlanta Prince enthusiast Marilyn McNair on Monday night.

She met Lacy outside Paisley Park in October 2016. The woman stopped her car and asked Lacy what she was doing. He had a picture of the prince as a model for his painting. The woman vaguely said she wanted the wonderful photo.

“It was his research photo, and he just gave it to her,” McNair recalled.

McNair, who owns seven Prince’s lacey prints, said painters would take the easel everywhere to work, whether it’s a bunker’s bar where music lovers dance or a crowded Chanassen restaurant.

In an interview with Star Tribune last year, Lacy said she didn’t want his cancer to be part of his story about preserving Prince’s legacy. The artist had surgery for a brain tumor, but continued to paint in the hospital bed and in his studio.His frequent Posting to social media Recorded his medical procedure and progress.

“He was a pretty troupe. He was sometimes very open about accepting his health,” McNair said.

Too modest to promote acrylic paints, Lacy was primarily regarded as a self-appointed caretaker of the monument left by fans in the tunnel connecting Paisley’s fence and Anne Lake Park to Prince’s property.

“The most important thing I do is to retire things,” he explained last year. Then repair them, laminate them, and try to show them again.

“I’m not Prince’s biggest fan,” admitted Lacy. He has never been inside Paisley Park. “But the fans [embraced] myself. It’s a group of good people. Most of my friends are now princes all over the world. “

Sara Savoy of Prince Lake met Lacy outside Paisley Park on the day Prince died.

“He was definitely eccentric and different, as is the case with many creatives,” said Savoy, who became friends with him. “But his heart was in the right place. People were attracted to the fact that he was really, really genuine.”

In December, Lacy confessed in Savoy that she had a dream that the prince would help him. Therefore, he felt that he should honor the prince.

McNair said Lacy told her that he was religious but lost his faith many years ago. “Prince fans have returned his faith to him,” she said. “It just changed the way he sees life.”

In the 1980s, a self-taught Brooklyn-born artist painted portraits on the streets of Las Vegas, later in the lobby of a Rio casino. There he met his future wife, Chris Ward, a harpist who urged him to move to his hometown of Minnesota about 25 years ago.

In 2000, Lacy created the now obsolete Christian cartoon “Facemouth”. The comic questioned how Prince could sue his followers for posting a copyrighted video online. Then he received a “strange message” on his blog: “Dan, you don’t know how it feels. Someday you’ll be famous, and you’ll understand.”

Yes, it was a prince.

Lacy liked cats (he had pets) and pancakes (they appeared in his paintings). He often wore a knit hat depicting a stack of pancakes with butter and syrup.

Whimsically, Lacy became known for incorporating pancakes into portraits of celebrities such as Barack Obama, Gillian Anderson, and Kanye West. He sold a copy of his paintings and printed matter on Etsy. He is famous for the purchase of one of the original works by Seattle rapper Macklemore. Justin Bieber’s nude, with pancakes in private.

Inspired by photographs and videos, Lacy drew hundreds of Prince portraits and sold them for hundreds of dollars ($ 20- $ 40 for prints).

Lacy sometimes painted the canvas upside down to pay attention to the details, he told Savoy.

“These fans are honestly upset,” Lacy said last year. “I’m doing something purposeful. I’m supporting people who want to keep his legacy alive. I’m just a hack, a happy hack. I’m happy to help.”

Lacy’s family will host a private service with an upcoming public monument.

[email protected] @ JonBream 612-673-1719

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