Red Dirt Diaries: Spencer Residents Come Together To Help Local Artist

Friday, October 16th 2015, 6:37 pm
By: Karl Torp

At what appears to be a no-name gas station along NE 36th in Spencer, one artist is making a name for himself.

A police officer gave Steve Brown the nickname "Sketch" about five years ago, and its stuck ever since.

Outside the station, you can watch Sketch go to work with his penciled portraits.

Many of the pictures are of famous people, like Marilyn Monroe and President John Kennedy.

Starting at $25, Sketch will draw anybody who has around 25 minutes to sit in front of him as he draws.

"I used to be much faster when I was younger," said Sketch.

He may take more time now, but his attention to detail cannot be rushed.

"They become my friends," said Sketch about his artwork.

He told News 9 he's been known to talk to his pictures like they are real people.

Right now, Sketch is living in a tent near the gas station.  He's been homeless for years.

"That's the lonely time and dark time," Sketch said about his life after the sun goes down.

Fortunately, Sketch's artwork has garnered him with some friends who want to help.

"You'd never believe he's down on his luck," said Roxanne Pannell, who paid Sketch for a drawing of her Navy Officer son.

When she found out about Sketch's situation she started a Go Fund Me page to help buy the artist a permanent home.

The homeless hut won't be big, but it will be safe for the aging artist and allow him to practice what he loves in peace.

"It's my best friend, my art, my ability," said Sketch who says he's fortunate for friends like Roxanne.

If you want to help Sketch, you can donate here: