West Philly man creates art collection featuring 'Heroes of the Day'

A West Philadelphia man is busy making paintings of essential workers playing a vital role helping others during the COVID-19 pandemic.

"I've been doing this for about a month and a half now. I normally put two to three hours into each painting. I try to get the essence because even though it's a portrait each painting tells a story,” said Luis Suave Gonzalez. With the stroke of a brush he is creating a collection of people on the frontline of the coronavirus pandemic.

"Essential workers are the core of our community,” he says. His collection of self-painted portraits is called "Heroes of the Day."

"I decided I wanted to honor them and record history with art as its taking place," said Gonzalez. Recognizable are Mayor Jim Kenney, District Attorney Larry Krasner and Governor Tom Wolf. Others doing the gritty hands on work in the community like Rosalind Pichardo of Operation Save our City in Kensington and Reverend Jessie Alejandro providing meals to families in need.

"This woman from Broad Street Ministries the reason I selected her was she got a little baby at home yet she comes to work every day. This man provides free WiFi for kids that don't have it. Another brother is out in the community every day to help people and feeding people and giving out masks out there." Gonzalez is also an essential worker with Broad Street Ministries helping feed and provide resources for the homeless.

"I go to work eight hours, come home and put at least four or five hours into creating pictures because I want to honor the people who are making it safe. A lot of these workers are not seeking to be recognized. They're just doing their job. So to see them react to my painting is joy," he said.

He’s done about 30 portraits so far and is hoping to do 100 for a future exhibit to present them to the heroes.

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