Local artist Jason Seiler created Pope Francis` TIME cover - FOX 35 News Orlando

Local artist Jason Seiler created Pope Francis` TIME cover portrait

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

A North Side Chicago artist created the portrait of Pope Francis for the cover of TIME Magazine's "Person of the Year" edition.

For artist Jason Seiler, it felt like the perfect job. The oil painter who trained himself to paint digitally says he got a call from TIME Magazine a couple of weeks ago asking him to work on a picture of NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden.

"I didn't know it was man of the year, person of the year," Seiler says. "I just knew that I needed to paint Snowden and they wanted him to look really cool kinda like a spy and there's not a lot around on him so I pretty much had to make him up."

So as an artist, he improvised, using a picture of himself. Seiler says TIME liked the painting so much that they asked him to do another one. He says he got the offer to do the gig after TIMES' editors saw a cover he did for a German magazine called Der Speigal.

This time, TIME gave Seiler four days to complete this heavenly masterpiece and keep the job a secret.

"I talked with TIME and they said yeah, we would love if you could do a really kind gentle smile with his mouth closed," says Seiler. "I had to search the internet and found certain pictures of him from certain angles with his mouth closed. So the challenge was to look at his head from different angles with his mouth closed and then somehow draw it from where I wanted to draw him."

He sketched the painting first, created a backdrop, and 70 hours later, he hit the send button on his computer.

Seiler says he spent the most time on the Pope's mouth and eyes which were the hardest thing.

"These little buttons are a nightmare," Seiler points out. "And the cross a little suggested. Like, I could go in and detail this even more…It's a great feeling knowing that this has touched people and my intention was to do the most beautiful painting I could do."

Jason says his goal as an artist was to work with three top magazines: The Rolling Stones, The New Yorker and TIME.

This assignment has been a dream come true and he's already working on his next assignment.

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