About the artist

When the Timberwolves made Anthony Edwards the No. 1 pick in the NBA draft on Wednesday night, ESPN cameras showed Edwards smiling on his couch in between two paintings. We learned about the two women featured in the paintings, but who was the artist?

Erica is her name when her paintbrush is not in her hand. Otherwise, when it’s time to create, it’s @heypaintella. Wednesday night was a huge night for her. Smiling and pointing at the paintings, Edwards explained during the TV interview that his mother and grandmother both died when he was young, stricken by cancer. @heypaintella was hired by Edwards’ sister recently to paint these two special women — and a third painting, of Edwards himself.

The Star Tribune reached out to @heypaintella the morning after the draft, and she told the story of the paintings and the exciting night. The Star Tribune bought usage rights to the Edwards painting.

@heypaintella said Wednesday night was a thrill. She was excited for Edwards, and excited to see her work front and center on ESPN. She calls her style “pop art,” and her works of Black culture and Black celebrities are hand-painted and sold at Atlanta art shows and festivals. Check her out at @heypaintella on Instagram.