An Edmonton artist pinged Simu Liu about buying some art. Now there's a mural in the actor's home
Rahmaan Hameed was scrolling through Instagram when he saw a New Year's Day post from Canadian actor Simu Liu at a game of the New Taipei Kings professional basketball team.
The Edmonton artist is a huge fan of Liu, the first Asian superhero to lead a Marvel film in Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, and a self-professed Marvel enthusiast.
He's also not shy about drumming up business for the vivid, contemporary paintings and murals that he creates. "Gotta get you some art this year bro," Hameed wrote in a comment on Liu's post.
Apparently Liu agreed.
"He messaged me in the morning and I'm like, 'OK, this is not real,'" Hameed told CBC's Edmonton AM. "There's no way this is happening."
Liu, who will be hosting the Juno Awards taking place in Edmonton this month, was looking for a custom mural for his home gym in Los Angeles.
The two messaged back and forth on ideas before settling on the design: an anime-like depiction of Liu's Shang-Chi persona flanked by Dragon Ball Z's Goku on one side and Los Angeles basketball great Kobe Bryant on the other.
"The whole concept was pretty much anime-related, superhero-related — and he's a big basketball fan," Hameed said.
On Feb. 20, Hameed flew down to L.A. to install the mural — a task that came with a new set of challenges.
A piece of this scale and details would usually take Hameed up to two weeks but he had it finished in three days.
"I was a little nervous. Like, this is one of my biggest clients to date," he said.
"And I'm not painting a canvas, I'm painting his house, so [there's] no margin for error."
Liu will be in Edmonton on March 13 to host the Juno Awards at Rogers Place.
Listen here | Marvel fan and Edmonton artist Rahmaan Hameed had his dream come true when he was commissioned to paint a mural for Canadian actor Simu Liu
Hameed has been painting and sketching his whole life, but launched his professional art career in 2015.
Since then, his clientele has grown to include professional athletes in the NBA, NHL, actors and influencers. Like Liu, many became customers after Hameed drew attention to himself on their social media feeds.
His work can also be seen around Edmonton at places like the Seoul Fried Chicken restaurant in Old Strathcona, Kingsway Mall and — much to Hameed's delight — J. Percy Page high school, where he'd been a student.
"They commissioned me to pretty much create three large scale murals for their math, social studies and the language arts departments," he said.
It was a full-circle moment when his high school became his first big commission as an artist, he said.
"When you see these projects that come your way, when you see your work in the public space, it makes the journey and the hard work worth it."