EWING - Visitors going to see Pope Francis in Philadelphia next month may notice artwork with a New Jersey connection.
New Jersey-based artist Perry Milou was contracted to paint the official portrait of the pope for the Philadelphia Mass of his United States tour this September. Milou says he painted it in just eight hours.
"It's probably the purist painting that I've made, because it came from my soul," he says.
The painting, titled "A Prayer for Peace," as well as a second one titled "The Holy Day," will be featured on shirts, mugs, totes and posters. It was contracted out by World Meeting of Families, the Catholic group holding a conference in Philadelphia in conjunction with the papal visit.
Milou is a pop artist, known for paintings of iconic landmarks and people created in his studio in Ewing. He says his painting of the pope has special significance.
"He is an extraordinary soul. I think that he is reaching out more, less about religion and more about spirituality and faith," Milou says.
The artist hopes to sell the original painting for $1 million, which he plans to donate to charity.