Derrick, 54, told CNN that after painting that first portrait, he felt inspired and began using Instagram to contact nurses who posted photos after their shifts treating patients with Covid-19. As word spread, medical workers began sending photos to him, and so did his friends and family who wanted to pay tribute to his hard work.
“The most important thing is that they post images that aren’t your cute selfies that you would normally expect from Facebook,” he said. “They’re real, real experiences that people had.”
Send the paintings to your subjects to show your gratitude. While Covid-19 makes it nearly impossible to meet someone in person, Derrick said the answers follow.
“I saw who they are, so I sent the photos to people and I said, ‘Hi, here I thank you,’ and the reaction I had was, ‘It’s amazing, it’s documenting a moment in history.’ “
Derrick said he would take a photo of the portrait before putting it in the mail. The project exploded when he started posting the paintings on social media. He began receiving photos of top-notch medical workers from around the world. Friends and family would send him photos of doctors and nurses to paint. He even received photos of patients who wanted to pay tribute to the doctors who helped save their lives.
Derrick said requests for portraits appear to be following the spread of the pandemic.
“Some of the applications started coming from Italy, then Italy to the UK, then the UK to Spain, then Spain to New York, then New York gradually across the US “, he said.
Since early April, Derrick has painted and donated at least 100 portraits. He said it takes everyone three to four hours to complete. He still has his work from 9 to 5, but finds time to paint in the mornings and after dinner, and even during lunch breaks.
He got to work and created 20 portraits in two weeks, which was enough to celebrate the show and continue to spread positivity.
“I’m just a guy painting pictures. So it’s a little overwhelming for me. But I’m very happy that people are getting good news and a little bit of inspiration and that there’s light on how amazing these people are.”