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Artist James Turrell says Drake ‘honored my work’

Light and space artist James Turrell was the inspiration behind Drake's "Hotline Bling" music video. The Post's art critic Phillip Kennicott asked Turrell about the pop star during a Facebook Live interview. (Video: The Washington Post)

James Turrell is a visionary artist who has been exploring light, color and space for decades through his groundbreaking work.

But despite his prominence in the art world, most people now know him as the inspiration behind Drake’s “Hotline Bling” video. The visuals resemble Turrell’s work.

The director of “Hotline Bling” has previously said any connection between the video and Turrell is merely accidental. But since the release of Drake’s wildly popular music video, which has inspired countless memes and parodies, many have pointed out the similarities it has with Turrell’s art.

This week, Turrell was asked during an interview with Post art and architecture critic Philip Kennicott about his favorite Drake song. “This is very interesting because you can think that you have some importance by involvement in the art world, but you know popular culture is so much more,” Turrell said.

“He honored my work and I was flattered by that,” Turrell continued. “Actually, I’ve enjoyed a lot more attention since he got involved.”

“Drake went through my exhibition. I did meet him in Los Angeles, and he was in the spaces that I did do there, and has some images from that,” Turrell said. “But he actually made these images for his CD, and that was something that he did that I didn’t have anything to do with.”

Rolling Stone accompanied Drake as he visited the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in 2014 to check out a Turrell exhibition. “I f— with Turrell,” Drake told Rolling Stone. “He was a big influence on the visuals for my last tour.”

Last year, Turrell put out a statement on his lawyer’s blog responding to “Hotline Bling” and claims that any connections were accidental: “While I am truly flattered to learn that Drake f—s with me, I nevertheless wish to make clear that neither I nor any of my woes was involved in any way in the making of the Hotline Bling video.”

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