We first met Ike in 1993 when he was residing
at the Austin State Hospital. We had known of his art
and loved it, so we were feeling lucky the day we got
to actually meet the guy painting these presidents,
mona lisas, and a few other subjects that slipped in
from time to time.
Ike suffers from chronic schizophrenia
and had lived in the State Hospital from the time he
was 17 up until just a few years ago. Now in early 50's Ike lives out on his own with a roommate and is
Because of his years and the time period
Ike was in the State Hospital, Ike is kinda stuck in
the 1970's, at least all of the coolest parts of the
70's. Thus the blue suit in his picture. his taste in
music, his language, and his personal style are reflected
in the time period he first went into the hospital.
Ike's style and his sweet loving manner
makes him the coolest of guys I know. Ike has a great
way of telling you the truth or making you see something
the way he sees it without ever hurting your feelings
with his honesty. When we have tried to engage Ike in
conversation on a subject we like and he really doesn't;
he will just say, "you know that means something
to some people" or "living can be the hardest
thing to do sometimes."
Ike paints every day, lining up two or
three pieces at a time to layer the paint. He first
started painting George Washington on
the dollar bill. Then he branched out with other
presdients from a book he saw on the traveling book
cart at the hospital. That is also where he picked up
painting the Mona Lisa image. He paints these subjects
over and over trying to make them better each time as
he continues to experiment with materials and techniques.
Occassionaly he will slip in a new subject he is interested
in such as birds, Xena Warrior Princess, Dr. Suess character, Rick James or Beethoven.
When questioned about his painting Ike responds,
"you know painting just makes you feel good and
when others feel good too -that is something."