There's Beauty in Everything

There's Beauty in Everything

"I didn't have any money or any material so I decided to paint on whatever I could," said Willie Weaver-Bey.

Willie spent 40 years in prison from drug related charges, and to stay out of trouble, Willie learned the art of painting. He admits that if he wasn't in prison, in his younger days, he might’ve been killed on the streets.

"I never thought I would be an artist."

While in jail, Willie watched his friend paint for over a year, until his friend became annoyed and gave Willie a piece of Frederick board, five primary colors, and some old paint brushes, and told him to go paint.

 

Willie’s been out of prison for 18 months and he’s already made $10,000 from one of his pieces.

"It's been an exciting ride," he said. "I'm still growing, I'm still painting."

According to Willie, he’s painted over 10,000 items and has been featured in the Shepherd Express, The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, TMJ4 and more.

Over a year ago, Willie was given $100, a bus ticket, and was sent on his way once he was released from prison. A friend by the name of Tim John helped Willie get on his feet. Tom paid for five of Willie’s pieces to be framed by Fred Robinson. Since that day, Willie is always prepared with a piece of framed artwork—and everyone knows a frame makes an art piece complete.

Willie used some of his profits to buy an old van which became his new home, until he was able to afford his own. From the streets to prison to art to a new home, Willie isn’t letting his past denture his future.

Willie has eight children, that he knows of, and he keeps in touch with all of them. He couldn't be there for them because of his time spent in prison, but now he talks to them whenever he gets the chance.

"It's a good feeling," Willie said. "We're beginning to build a beautiful relationship."

Because of painting, Willie was able to occupy his time more than the other prisoners. He knew he didn't want to die over something petty, so he stayed to himself.

"I saw a guy killed over a three-dollar radio," he said. "I knew I didn't want to be a statistic."

"I saw a guy killed over a three-dollar radio," he said. "I knew I didn't want to be a statistic."

With thousands of art pieces, one would think selling a few wouldn’t be an issue, but not for Willie. His art pieces are a part of him, and parting with them is never easy. But he loves the support get receives from his art, which makes it easier to get part with.

Willie says he’s even-handed in all mediums, such as watercolor, pastel and acrylic. But, you can also add Vietnam Veteran to Willie's resume. Ironically, one of Willie's most known pieces is of a veteran.

"The eyes were so compelling I had to paint the picture." he said. "It makes a powerful statement."

Willie sees the impact his art is making in the city of Milwaukee, and beyond, so he will continue you spreading his style of art with the world.

 Voice of the People

Voice of the People

Hot, Damn!

Hot, Damn!