WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- Local artist Ivey Hayes has died. He was 64.
Hayes's brother Phillips says the man known for his paintings of vibrant colors and southern life, music and sports, died this morning at New Hanover Regional Medical Center. Phillip says Ivey, who for years had suffered from rheumatoid arthritis that had mangled his hands, had gone into the hospital August 28 and had been in critical condition since as he battled a host of complications.
Despite his crippling arthritis, Hayes continued to paint until the final months of his life.
In a 2007 interview with WWAY, Hayes said he found his gift for art as a child growing up in Pender County. Years later when arthritis forced him to stop working, he turned back to painting portraits as a form of therapy.
But Hayes said he fought God's plan by painting portraits, until he said the Lord took him on a spiritual experience that changed everything; showing him faceless black figures working and living in what Hayes called distorted perspective.
"I'm very thankful that the Lord wouldn't leave me alone," he said, "because I look around today and see what he's done for me in my life... it's very wonderful, because I use it to help his people."
That may be how many people knew him best. Hayes often created art for local festivals; his paintings fetching tens of thousands of dollars at auction for charity.
Phillip Hayes says the family is working on funeral arrangements.