Holland Pays Tribute To Evel Knievel
On Friday Nov 30th (2007), we lost a true living American legend, the worlds greatest dare-devil, Evel Knievel. Stephen Holland and all of us at Limelight would like to pass along our deepest sympathies to the Knievel Family.
Evel Knievel (signed by Evel Knievel)
27" x 41" Hand Enhanced Giclee on Canvas
Evel Knievel holds a special place in our hearts, as a short time ago Stephen was invited to add Evel to his long list of painted legends. That painting was transformed into an edition, that Mr. Knievel chose as one of the few things he would sign in his last days.
Stephen Holland has painted most all of the great hero's that define us as a people and represent the ideals we cherish. Most of those greats are first and foremost known for their super human feats and what prices they paid to achieve them. But in the case of Evel, it's something just a bit different and perhaps uniquely American in it's nature.
"They started out watching me bust my ass, and I became part of their lives. People wanted to associate with a winner, not a loser," - Evel Knievel
For Knievel it was never about the perfect feat (stunt). It was his willingness to risk everything, both life and limb to do the impossible. And even when he failed (breaking dozens of bones, organ damage and a long coma) he continued to return over and over to try not just again but to due something even more difficult. Always doing so with more invested in the optimistic belief in the small chances of success, rather than the greater possibility of failure at the greatest cost.
Like most great legends Evel's life was a well traveled journey. First gaining his fame for being a local hell-raiser, where it was the police that gave him the moniker "Evil" (he later changed to "Evel"). Soon there after taking his taste for risk and danger into the form of a riders club, that still lives on. Evel and the club toured the country charging a few hundred dollars to make jumps over a couple trucks. Eventually, his stunts were watched on live TV by half the country at one time, and he arose as an American icon.
It is because of this journey that Holland has given us not a simple portrait of an amazing man, but rather an epic tale told in a beautiful painting.
On the day that the original painting and limited editions were signed, Evel felt so strongly about the work, he considered it something of great importance (as did his family) and expressed deep disappointment that the original was not going to stay. But in consolation,he kept several prints for himself and family.
Despite his very important roll in popular culture, Evel has left behind very few authentic signed objects of importance. Of those few, he and those close to him, felt Stephen's biographical portrait stood out above the rest.
"No king or prince has lived a better life. You're looking at a guy who's really done it all." - Evel Knievel
(Evel at Heart)