Artist paints Louisville's unforgotten faces of violence

Artist paints pictures of homicide victims

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) – From her living-room studio, Jaylin Stewart and her paintbrushes are – in a way – bringing back to life two of Louisville’s youngest victims of violence.

“I don’t think nobody, ever, should have to go through that.” 

We first told you about Stewart’s selfless act of painting the portraits of the city’s murdered last month.

In the weeks that followed, she has not put her paint brush down. Finishing one right after the other, some not even done drying as she begins the next.  Sadly, almost as quickly as the city counts another death.

“The eyes are the most important part of the picture to me because the eyes show so much emotion, direction," Stewart told WHAS11.

Stewart is painting the faces of 14-year-old Larry Ordway and 16-year-old Maurice Gordon. Their deaths so horrifying Stewart hopes the painting reminds us all life can take unexpected turns.

“It’s disgusting to me," she said. LMPD found the boy’s bodies behind a vacant home in the Shawnee neighborhood in May. They were stabbed, dumped and burned.

“Nobody should ever have to die like that," she said.

Stewart’s artwork does not hang in her home but is wrapped and shipped to the victim’s families who can hang it in theirs.  She personally delivers her colorful canvasses.  The latest ending up in the hands of Marie Wren.

“Ah. Oh my God. Looks just like them," Wren said as she unwrapped the painting.

The holidays, of course, will not be the same.  Neither will any other day, but on this day there is reason to celebrate because the half-brothers are making their mother’s heart full.

“I did that to make you all happy. Try to bring some joy for the holiday," Stewart said while hugging Wren.  Wren replied, "That’s the best Christmas ever.”

Details of their deaths never easy to talk about, but Wren now chooses to focus on how they lived - and not how they died - which is why Stewart paints what she hopes are the unforgotten faces.

“It’s the way that they died.  How they got tortured but I know they’re past that now," Wren told WHAS11.

“I just wanted to bring them some sense of happiness, some sense of joy," Stewart said.


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