UofL's Hakeem Smith's hidden talent


by Kent Spencer


Posted on December 26, 2013 at 6:40 PM

Updated Friday, Dec 27 at 2:42 PM

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- UofL senior safety Hakeem Smith has been a constant in the Cards' secondary for the past four years.

His skills are considerable, but Hakeem's talents stretch well beyond the football field.

He is a 4-time all-conference selection, he has started in 50 straight games and he has amassed 287 career tackles. He's had a career at Louisville that most would envy.

"Just been a special part of my life," he said.

His true passion is sitting behind a desk with a sketch pad in front of him.

"It's a real stress reliever," he said. "Going through so much in football and school, I just sit back and start drawing . . . relax my mind . . . listen to music while I do it and it just eases."

Hakeem first put pencil to paper in high school.

It started out as doodling, but about eight months ago, he realized he had real talent.

"Anybody can draw," he said. "It just takes patience."

There are different ways to go about it, but Hakeem prefers to look at a picture while he constructs his artistic creation.

"From a picture, I can see all the detail in it," he said.

From a simple photograph on his phone, Hakeem can create a masterpiece.

"I'm starting with the eyes . . . because I can scale the rest of the picture out," he said. "Looking at things as far as details-wise, just like drawing people, because they stand out more."

"Details create a challenge for me . . . if I'm able to catch a detail, then I know I'm getting better as an artist."

A good drawing takes him from eight to twelve hours.

"I could start at 6 o'clock. I won't stop. It could be three in the morning, our in the morning, I never know," he said.

It's all self-taught. Hakeem has taken no classes or lessons.

"It's just a natural talent. I never read into it. I follow some artists on Instagram, checking out some of their work. I get ideas from them," he said.

Take a look at his collection and you'll see daughters of teammates, singers, even legendary movie figures, but his favorite piece is the character Walter White from "Breaking Bad."

The portrait he did for us took only 28 minutes and in the end, was perfection.

Hakeem obviously wants to pursue a career in the NFL.

His degree is in sports administration, but when his football playing days are over, he's seriously considering a career in the art world.