Interview – 29-year-old Romanian visual artist and musician Mihai Rusu recently created a one-of-a-kind piece of opulent artwork dedicated to producer DJ Khaled — and if things go the way he hopes, the funds raised from its sale will help fulfill his lifelong dream of a better smile.
He’s consulted with a regional dental professional and (as he isn’t a candidate for braces) he’ll require a procedure that will cost roughly $3,500 USD, which is the exact price he’s selling the piece for on eBay.
According to him, the inspiration for the art was organic.
“I was walking my dog on the street, and it came to me … I must do something for DJ Khaled,” he explains to HipHopDX via video call. “I didn’t know why, I didn’t know how and I didn’t know what.
“I did some research and found out [about his] We the Best brand, and I took the logo and … you want to see the painting?”
He gestures to a 24″ x 24″ inch piece created by arranging over 3900 genuine Swarovski crystals onto black velvet in the shape of the We The Best logo.
While he hopes to fund his new teeth, he is quick to explain that the art wasn’t created specifically with this goal in mind. In fact, working with the crystals is a passion that blossomed for Rusu back in 2014 while living in New York City.
“When I was in New York, I was in the fashion district and I saw a lot of crystals over there, Swarovski crystals,” he says. “I fell in love with and started working with them.
“As the passion grew, I started making T-shirts,” he explains. “I don’t want to brag, but I think I am the only one in my country that does this kind of thing with Swarovski.”
His admiration for Asahd’s father first presented itself after the producer’s Billboard chart-topping collaboration with Rihanna and Bryson Tiller, “Wild Thoughts” — a song he was a big fan of at the time.
“I would say to DJ Khaled that I admire him and his family,” he notes. “I [really] like him.”
With a story of this kind — on a platform like HipHopDX — he acknowledges that there is a possibility that Khaled could purchase the piece. And really, it’s hard to imagine anyone else owning it.
“That would mean the world to me,” he admits humbly. “I would be [exstatic] if DJ Khaled would buy the painting and help me realize my childhood dream of having beautiful teeth and smiling with confidence. That would mean the world to me.”
But for Rusu, who’s yearned to correct his crooked teeth since the age of 10, it’s bigger than just a glow up. As he notes, the pain has become increasingly unmanageable over the last few months — creating an urgency to have this procedure.
“I need to do something about my teeth because the pain is getting worse,” he explains. “I take medicine to calm the pain … [but], It’s hurting me every day.”
A major key he left us with is the power of positive thinking. An anecdote he shares is about his music career, which he spoke into existence.
Eleven years ago, he decided to teach himself piano. Around this time, while sitting at a stoplight, he saw a billboard for award-winning Romanian artist, Paula Seling. It was then and there that he decided to himself that he would work her. Not only did he eventually connect with her — but they since collaborated six times.
He also worked with chart-topping artist Narcotic Sound — and that partnership led Rusu to have a hand in over 15 million views.
“Maybe, I could ask [Khaled] if he could listen to one of my demos,” he adds casually. “Maybe he’d like it and produce it.
“Everything is possible.”
Mihai Rusu’s DJ Khaled “We The Best” Custom Swarovski Velvet Painting is currently available on eBay for $3,500 — you can buy it here.