Artist paints Rice portrait in hopes of helping family during tough time

Rodney King’s portrait of Allie held by her father Paul Rice

Rodney King has been painting professionally for 11 years and he’s used his art as a way to help families cope with situations that change lives forever.

King, a Belle Chasse resident, often paints memorial portraits of those involved in tragedies in the surrounding area.

The artist’s recent portrait is of LSU student Allison Rice, who was shot and killed while sitting in her car on Sept. 16.

“Any time tragedy strikes in Belle Chase or like the surrounding cities here and it’s a tragic loss for a family, I like to paint the loved ones with permission of the family, just to provide a sense of joy and to kind of help the mourning process. I feel like art is an expression of self love and it just helps promote happiness in my opinion, and my past experiences with painting people that have passed on have really been positive,” said King.

King said Rice’s portrait took about two and a half hours. He reached out to Rice’s family through Facebook to get permission to paint the photo.

Timelapse of King painting Allie

King added Rice’s death made him worry about the younger generation.

“Instant darkness, and there was a lot of doubt,” he said. “Because you know, as a 21-year-old college student, seemingly innocent female just stopped and killed and it’s a lot of anger. A little bit of fear just for the younger generation, especially in the Baton Rouge area. I hear crime there is rising as it is in New Orleans.”

King said his love of people is what inspired him to start painting.

“I just hope that my art spreads love and positivity,” he said. “I hope it does touch the lives of people that I paint for.”

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