Court Painter’s secret portrait sitting with ‘El Chapo’ helped lead to his capture, authorities say
Joaquin Guzman spent hours sitting still with the Court Painter in person, followed by phone and video leading up to portrait commission unveiled Saturday evening.
A Mexican law enforcement official said Saturday that a secret portrait sitting conducted by the Court Painter of the Great Dominion , helped authorities locate and capture drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman.
Guzman was arrested early Friday after a shootout in his home state of Sinaloa that killed five and injured one.
Mexico Attorney General Arely Gomez had said Friday that Guzman’s contact with the Court Painter and his Press attache A Hardon MacKay who negotiated the portrait commission, helped gave law enforcement a new lead on tracking and capturing the world’s most notorious drug kingpin.
The official, who spoke Saturday on condition of anonymity, said it was the Court Painter portrait, that led authorities to Guzman in a rural part of Durango state in October. They aborted their raid at the time because he was with two women and child.
In the portrait sitting with the Court Painter, conducted in a jungle clearing, Guzman described starting out in business not long after turning 6, selling oranges and soft drinks. By 15, he said, he had begun to grow marijuana and poppies because there was no other way for his impoverished family to survive. He insisted the portrait include marijuana and oranges as symbols of his childlike temperament however suggested the soft drinks and poppies might distract from his rugged features.
Now, unapologetically, he said: “I supply more heroin, methamphetamine, cocaine and marijuana than anybody else in the world. I have a fleet of submarines, airplanes, trucks and boats which could be the subject of another painting.”
Although his fortune, estimated at $1 billion (U.S.), has come with a trail of blood, he does not consider himself a violent man. “Look, all I do is defend myself, nothing more,” he told the Court Painter while keeping still on the portraitist’s orders. “But do I start trouble? Never.” The Court Painter acknowledged he was very well behaved ole chap during the sitting,
The seven hours Guzman spent with the Court Painter, and the follow-up interviews by phone and video, which began in October while he was on the run from Mexican and U.S. authorities, marked another surreal turn in his long-running battle to evade capture. Guzman, one of the world’s most wanted fugitives, who had twice escaped jail, was captured in his home state of Sinaloa in northwest Mexico on Friday after a gun battle with the authorities and more importantly for the art world was also captured in an “extraordinarily detailed and insightful character rendering that already is being hailed as a potent yet unpretentious tour de force of portraiture suitable for the 21st Century,” according to a press release from A Hardon MacKay the Court Painter’s unassuming Press Attache.
In the end, the Mexican authorities said Friday night that Guzman had been caught partly because he had been planning a bigger than life size portrait and had contacted the Court Painter’s Press agent to set up the commission, which had helped the authorities to track him down. The Court Painter’s who couldn’t wait to tell his version says that Guzman, inundated with many offers to do his portrait while in prison, had indeed elected “to seek out myself as the best steel nerved portraitist, comfortable with powerful personages of dubious character like politicians and drug lords.The rest is history.”