How the NFL will paint a new picture on first-round draft picks

A picture is worth a thousand words?

The portraits created by Southern California pop artist and painter Rob Prior are worth far more than that, with some fetching up to $1 million at auction.

For the first time on Thursday night, Prior will be on stage during the NFL Draft, painting at high speed and creating player portraits as they are drafted. He plans to work on three canvases at the same time.

“While they’re coming, I’m just going to push through,” Prior, 57, said. “I’m an ambidextrous painter, so I’ll probably have a few things at the same time.”

He said his notice of which player will be selected was ‘less than minutes’.

“When the name is called, the new sheet of paper goes up and I go to town,” he said. “I’m quick, because I paint with two hands, so I’m lucky to be able to buzz through things. But I will do the job. I always do.”

Sports finance expert Marc Ganis connected Prior with the NFL, believing the league already has strong ties to the music world, but there are opportunities in the visual arts. Prior won’t have much time; there are 10 minutes between picks in the first round.

The paintings will be auctioned off to benefit various NFL charities, and players will receive lithographs of themselves. Prospects got a chance to check out some of Prior’s work Wednesday at a draft event.

“I was like, ‘Wow, is he really going to do me?’ I feel lucky,” said University of Washington cornerback Kyler Gordon. “…Holy hell yeah, I’d put that on my wall. I’d put it right in the middle of my trophy room.

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