Sun artist

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- If the sun is shining, Billy Keith will be somewhere in downtown Louisville harnessing the power of the sun to create beautiful works of art.

"Ancient Chinese secret. Just kidding! Just a lot of patience and studying and botched pictures," said Keith.

He uses a giant magnifying glass to filter the bright light parking a flame that moves across a scrap piece of wood.

"I put my wood out and okay I think I know what I want to do and I go for it," said Keith.

Almost like a laser, he burns lines that morph into images.

"A lot of people use the little lenses they like to be able to focus and do little teeny tiny portions and keep coloring it in. I like to just go fast and see what I get," he said.

Sunbeams from above fuel his fire to create.

"Just like everything in my life, I just keep going forward and it keeps on kind of working out," he said.

Keith tunes out the passing cars and city noise, but never passes up the chance to chat with the crowd that often gathers. He says something about flames brings out the childlike wonder in people.

"Everybody loves it. Everybody turns into a 4-year-old kid again. That's so cool, what is that, that's so amazing. And then they hang out with you a while," said Keith.

Nine years ago, a wake-up call turned his life to the light. "It was like you didn't die last night, you better get busy," he said. Keith quit drinking and started creating.

"When you make it through a tough time, and you get a message like this is what you're supposed to do next. This is what you do. It's like okay," said Keith.

His livelihood relies on the rays, which means a cloudy day or month can kill his creativity. "Only a couple days where we had more than three hours of light like all day," Keith said.

And a full time job keeps him from creating. "Sometimes I'd like to make more money in life and have that regular job, but that's not your thing anymore. You just keep doing this and you'll be fine," said Keith.

So instead, Keith waits because the sun will shine again. "When it does come out, you make sure you appreciate it," he said.

When the sun is out, you can find Keith on Fourth Street, at Slugger Field or in front of Garage Bar in Nulu.

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