Louisville artist who painted portrait of Cleveland murder victim to donate artwork to the family
A Louisville artist has painted a picture worth more than just 1,000 words to a grieving family.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- A Louisville artist has painted a picture worth more than just 1,000 words to a grieving family.
"I first started in 1986," said Tramond Spencer, local airbrush artist.
What started as a hobby more than 30 years ago is now a passion for Spencer.
"I had always been, you know, into drawing and considered myself an artist," Spencer said.
It is also a full-time job -- and these days, the airbrush business is good.
"Most of the shirts are, I would say, 75 to 80 percent 'Rest in Peace' shirts," said Spencer.
The ongoing violence in Metro Louisville has kept Spencer busy.
"A lot of times when people come in here, they're distraught and they're emotional," he said.
Whether it's a name on a shirt, "Rest in Peace," or a picture, Spencer puts everything into the paintings because most of his customers are on empty.
"When you can, you know, drop a little bit of happiness into somebody's life during that time of tragedy," said Spencer.
Spencer also does canvas portraits.
"There has been a real uptick in those," he said.
His latest work -- or masterpiece -- was inspired by a tragedy hundreds of miles away.
"I guess because we all saw it unfold," said Spencer.
On Easter Sunday, an elderly Cleveland man, Robert Godwin Sr., was shot and killed by a stranger. The suspect even posted the video on Facebook.
"I got tired of seeing the killer's face on my news feed," Spencer said.
Spencer didn't know Godwin, but he wanted to change the trend.
"Instead of showing the killer and showing his picture, I decided I wanted to do Mr. Godwin and post that."
Spencer painted the picture, posted it on Facebook, and it was shared over and over. It even reached Godwin's daughter.
"And she was actually looking for me because she wanted a copy of it," Spencer said.
After a few days, there was a connection.
"My phone rang and I saw 'Cleveland, Ohio,'" Spencer recalled.
The call was from Godwin's daughter, who wanted to get her hands on the painting.
"She wanted to offer me money for it," said Spencer.
But Spencer told her the painting was not for sale.
"I said, 'I don't want any money for this, this is your picture,'" Spencer said.
Spencer plans to overnight the painting to Godwin's family before the end of the week.
"I thought it would be nice if they had it in time for the funeral Saturday," he said.
Copyright 2017 by WDRB News. All rights reserved.