SAN DIEGO – A painted portrait of James Holmes, a man known for carrying out the 2012 Colorado shooting that killed a dozen people and injured 70 others, is the latest piece of art hanging in Point Loma.
San Diego artist Michelle Moore created the painting of Holmes in two days and has it on the wall of her art gallery at Liberty Station. The painting mimics a picture taken of Holmes during his first court hearing when he had fiery orange hair and a dazed look. The artist added a license plate which dangles from Holmes' neck.
“I remember reading about it and thinking in my mind 'this is a monster…who does things like this?'" Moore said. "The next day they had him in the paper in his orange jumpsuit and he looked like any kid, but with this bewildered look of 'I don’t even know what I’m doing here.'"
Moore said she decided to paint it as a way to spark conversation about mental health.
“We always think it’s something that happens to someone else… and someone that we would never come across in our lives,” she said. "He's not normal. Normal people don't do that, but he's probably someone that struggled for a long time in many ways."
Moore also included a quote in the top left corner of the painting, "… As on all Planets… you will find there are Good Seeds and Bad Seeds."
"As a culture of people in country who have fought so hard for freedom of speech, yet we don't talk about anything important," Moore said. "The reason I made that painting was to elicit some dialog. 'How can someone be so discounted from such an event?' Then it just triggered a thought in my mind that there is so much mental illness that we're not talking about it."
The gallery at 2690 Historic Decatur Road, barracks 19 is open to the public. The Holmes painting will remain on the wall for the next few weeks and is not for sale.
Holmes faces charges in the July 20, 2012, shooting spree that took the lives of 12 people and wounded dozens more at the premiere in Aurora of the Batman movie “The Dark Knight Rises.” Federal agents have said the 25-year-old former University of Colorado doctoral student planned the attack for months.
Holmes had offered to plead guilty and spend the rest of his life behind bars if authorities would spare his life, but prosecutors in Arapahoe County announced they would seek the death penalty.