How The Weeknd tracked down a Toronto artist whose artwork caught his eye

Toronto student and artist Diego Navarro screamed when he found that Grammy award winning musician The Weeknd spotted his artwork online.

Scarborough musician The Weeknd used twitter to find creator of Starboy-inspired artwork

The Weeknd asked on Twitter who made this painting and people connected him with Toronto artist Diego Navarro. (Diego Navarro)

What would you do if you found out Grammy Award winning artist The Weeknd was looking for you on Twitter?

Scream, maybe?

Well, that's exactly what Toronto student and artist Diego Navarro, 22, said he did when he learned the Scarborough musician spotted his painting online and tweeted out the question, "Who made this?"

"It's pretty crazy, overwhelming to say the least," Navarro told CBC Toronto.

The painting includes images of The Weeknd, DJ duo Daft Punk and singer Lana Del Ray. Navarro dubbed the painting Pink Moon, which is also included in the painting and inspired byThe Weeknd's Starboy album.

"I really love the album," said Navarro, a student finishing his degree in graphic design and advertising at George Brown College in Toronto.

"I listened to it front to back so many times, it was just a collaborative piece of different artists from the album and different feels — just something I came up with," said Navarro.

Toronto's Diego Navarro was tracked down on Twitter by Scarborough's The Weeknd for his painting. (@lindstortorici)

Navarro said The Weeknd eventually posted the photo of the painting on his Instagram story and tagged Navarro's Instagram handle.

"Just to have him even acknowledge it is incredible," said Navarro.

And that's what prompted him to send The Weeknd a thank you message for noticing his work and also offered the artist his painting.

Navarro said he received a message back from The Weeknd that said, "Yes, Please."

The Weeknd performs with Nav at the Coachella Music & Arts Festival at the Empire Polo Club on Sat., April 15, 2017, in Indio, Calif. (Photo by Amy Harris/Invision/AP) (The Associated Press)

Since then, Navarro explains he's been getting a lot of attention from people who have reached out to him about getting a print of the poster.

"From a business aspect, it's pretty much a dream. It's awesome to have recognition especially from someone of his stature," said Navarro.

Navarro said he finished the painting on May 19 and posted it that same day on Instagram.

That was a week before The Weeknd performed back-to-back shows in his hometown of Toronto at the Air Canada Centre on May 26 and 27.

"I was trying to push [the painting] out there before he came to Toronto, because I was hoping that the response from the painting would somehow get to him, maybe I would get lucky," said Navarro.

Navarro attended one of The Weeknd's Toronto shows with his friend.

"When we were there and we were watching him on stage we were like, 'It would be so great if he could see it. He would love it, it would be so awesome' and then sure enough two weeks it happened later on its own, which is crazy" he explained.

Navarro said between school assignments it took him about a total of about 20 hours to finish the painting.

Navarro said originally he never intended to sell the piece.

"It was either for him or I would just keep it, it was the first painting of its kind that everything just felt right about it, even when i was making it I can't really explain it, the painting itself it was an experience," said Navarro.

Navarro said he's been drawing and involved in the arts his entire life, but only started painting seriously about four years ago.

"I know it's not easy being an artist in the first place. Not a lot of people get the recognition. Not a lot of people get the opportunity to have their moment to shine," said Navarro.

The 22-year-old is now sorting out how he will get his painting to The Weeknd.

"This is the first one that I feel really stood out and something that I can be really proud of."

About the Author

Victoria is a producer, writer and editor for CBC Toronto. She has written and produced countless local TV newscasts and chase produced for CBC Radio One's Metro Morning and Here and Now. She currently is a writer and social video editor for CBC Toronto's Facebook page.

With Files from Tania Mehta