For weeks, Tampa artist Cam Parker has been campaigning for Lady Gaga see his work.
Parker painted an elaborate mural of the pop singer's face at 1701 N Franklin St. in Tampa. His dream was to have Gaga herself stop by for a selfie before her concert Friday in Tampa — and for a while, it looked like it might actually happen. When the Tampa Bay Times tweeted out a video about Parker's work, Gaga herself replied: "You certainly did make me cry."
While fans stopped by the mural all day Friday to snap selfies and photos, it wasn't until the night of the show that Gaga herself finally saw Parker's work.
Amalie Arena staffers left a few giant canvas prints of the mural in her room as a surprise gift; Gaga later posted them on Instagram Stories.
"Cam Parker, you are the s—," she said. "Thank you so much for your incredible mural. Yeah, you tell 'em, thank you! Thank you!"
During the show, she was able to compliment Parker in person. Before her final song, Million Reasons, she spotted the artist holding a giant print of the mural, which he passed to the stage.
"You made this mural here in Tampa? For me?" she asked.
She held up the print and studied her face.
"Is this for me? Will you sign it for me? You did already? Oh, thank you. That's a real artist right there. Look at that beautiful art."
Gaga posed for a photo before passing the print off to be taken back to her dressing room.
"I'm going to make sure I keep this backstage with me as another reminder that I got a lot of good reasons to stick around," she said, referencing the chorus of Million Reasons. Then she pointed at Parker: "Baby, you are one."
At the time, Parker said he felt "like I couldn't breathe, like I was dizzy, like my legs were shaking, like I didn't know who I was or what my name was."
But once the show was over, he planned to go out and celebrate.
"It's all I could ever ask for. I wasn't expecting a thing, and that was more than I expected," he said. "I'm not going to have a voice tomorrow, but that's okay. It's why I do it. It's why she does what she does."
— Jay Cridlin and Alessandra Da Pra