Portrait Paintings That Make Us Think of Halloween, Rio Carnival and Mardi Gras

Thierry, Kanu Ford

Thierry, Kanu Ford

 There are no devil horns on the man’s head, no spiked tail winding up his back, no pitchfork in his hand in this portrait painting of a man’s face surrounded in red. He may appear, at first glance, to be wearing something suited to a party on Halloween night, a Mardi Gras parade, or the Rio Carnival festival where millions of people appear in the streets dressed in all types of costumes. But for me, this painting by Kanu Ford, titled Thierry, reminds of adult Halloween parties and childhood nights of trick-or-treat.

For Miami-based professional photographer and painter Kanu Ford’s portrait series each canvas has a different feel — many reflecting the subject’s personality or the mood of the setting, such as the night-life party atmosphere of Night Crawling

Night Crawling, Kanu Ford

Night Crawling, Kanu Ford

and the dark and frightening wolfman-like face of el negro we might expect to encounter as a mask on Halloween night.

el negro, Kanu Ford

el negro, Kanu Ford

Does the face in the painting titled Bystander (below) seem zombie-like only because it’s October and our thoughts are of another impending All Hallows’ Eve? At any other time of year, would we simply recognize that this man’s face is illuminated by his computer screen?

Bystander, el kanu

Bystander, Kanu Ford

In the painting Made (below) do the girl’s features seem porcelain and doll-like, frightening hollow eyes closed, within the perception of the tradition of Halloween makeup and costumes? Or is she simply sad or beautiful, closing her eyes with her face aglow in the sun’s warmth, the light creating shadows on this canvas articulated by the artist’s brush, awash in the many tones of her flesh, as paint runs, brushwork, texture and layering.

Make, Kany Ford

Made, Kany Ford

You can view his latest work and follow the artist Kanu “el kanu” Ford on Instagram here.


Kanu Ford’s more fun or lighthearted faces may seem like dancers at Carnival in Disco Baby Disco, Effervesces, and H–

Disco Baby Disco, Kanu Ford

Disco Baby Disco, Kanu Ford


Effervescent, Kanu Ford

Effervescent, Kanu Ford


H, Kanu Ford

H, Kanu Ford

In the past, Kanu Ford completed a portrait project photographing the most influential people in Miami. Miami-based professional photographer and painter Kanu Ford in now offering his unique service combining both his painting and photography skills to create your portrait. 

For the first phase of a portrait commission, Kanu Ford begins with a portrait photo shoot session to captures your likeness and learn more about you.

He then returns to his studio to begin work on a one-of-a-kind oil painting portrait based on the photography session. Kanu uniquely captures your likeness while incorporate his impressions of you, your interests, and your personality represent in his color palette and the energy of his brushstrokes. Feel free to discuss your size preferences with the artist Kanu Ford. He will then provide you a timeline for completion of your portrait and at that time make the standard 50% deposit payment. Midway through the commission you will be able to review the painting in progress, and upon completion may the final 50% payment to take your portrait home or have it shipped to you. 

See more of Kanu Ford’s paintings on his website here.

Read a second version of our article published on the Niume platform here.

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