OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — One fan of the Kansas City Chiefs has been getting attention everywhere she goes this season.
“Honks, points, pictures, I get it all,” Eriana, who asked that her last name not be used, said.
This summer she wanted some way to make her car unique. So she reached out to her son’s friend, Jay Ugwuh, a Kansas City, Missouri-based artist.
“I didn’t know what I wanted,” Eriana admitted, saying it just had to be Chiefs-related.
Ugwuh let the creative juices flow from there, painting portraits of quarterback Patrick Mahomes and tight end Travis Kelce on Eriana’s car doors.
“It looks just like Patrick Mahomes,” Eriana said with enthusiasm. “The muscles, the details in the colors, it’s just great.”
Mahomes is on the rear passenger door. Kelce is on the rear driver’s side door. Each painting has intricate details including facial hair, muscle tone and even stadium lights reflecting on Kelce’s helmet.
“I was excited, but I was really kind of nervous because I never [painted a car] before,” Ugwuh said while on assignment in Little Rock. “I didn’t want to mess up. She was so happy for me to be doing it, I had to kind of feed off her energy.”
The self-taught artist, and huge Chiefs fan, specializes in airbrushing. He mostly paints on canvasses and clothing but was able to find a groove working on the car.
“To me, it [the airbrush] feels kind of like a pencil once you get used to using it and controlling it and everything,” Ugwuh admitted.
The artist posted updates of his progress on his Instagram page.
In September, he got the ultimate surprise when Travis Kelce himself commented on a post using the fire emoji, which means he likes the painting.
“I told Eriana she needs to get a Chiefs player to take a picture next to the car or something,” Ugwuh said.
A picture may be possible because Eriana teaches pre-k at Operation Breakthrough.
Kelce’s foundation, 87 and Running, has long supported children at the center. The superstar athlete has taken kids shopping and helped fund Operation Breakthrough’s new STEM-based “Ignition Lab” which opened last year.
“They [children at Operation Breakthrough] are fascinated with Patrick Mahomes and Kelce and so is the staff, oh my Goodness,” Eriana said with a smile.
She would love to have the Chiefs players autograph her car. She said people often stop her to compliment the paintings and encourage her to add more.
Eriana has to admit she doesn’t know much about football. For her, the games and team are all about camaraderie.
Ugwuh, on the other hand, is fully invested in the Chiefs winning Super Bowl LVI.
“The confidence is up,” he said. “Mahomes kind of created the standard for us now of winning. So I think we’re going to win everything, every time.”
Ugwuh is willing to paint anyone’s car. You can reach out to the artist through his Facebook page.