Local artist talks about tribute to Kobe Bryant

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Standing at just 2 feet tall, Monique Johnson’s paintings are often larger than life.

Art comes easy to Johnson, who has been using that gift since childhood.

The biggest challenge is physical.

Johnson was born with diastrophic dysplasia, a rare form of dwarfism, but not even that stops her from creating memorable pieces.

She recently painted the largest portrait she’s ever done – a 36x36 canvas of late basketball star Kobe Bryant.

Painting a piece honoring Bryant was not something Johnson set out to do.

“This particular piece I had started out doing an abstract piece of art, and the colors were purple and gold. I didn't like the way it was turning out, and so I sat it off to the side and said I'll revisit that later or I may just trash it,” she said.

After letting it sit a while, she was inspired to challenge herself.

“As I continued to work on it, piece by piece, it started really shaping up into something beautiful.”

Painting large pieces are a challenge for Johnson because of her height and limitations for her arm reach.

This painting took Johnson two weeks to finish.

The painting received more than 1,000 likes on her Facebook page along with dozens of complimentary messages.

“I just didn't know if I could physically achieve greatness with this painting, and I guess I showed that I could,” she said.

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