Rock legend Sting has received his portrait, painted by an anonymous woman’s father who recently passed.
The woman’s story told via the Humans of New York Instagram page celebrated her dad’s life as a dedicated and loving man who sacrificed his dream of becoming an artist to take care of his family. He produced one painting— the one of Sting, and before succumbing to MS, he asked that his daughter somehow gift it to the musician.
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“I was five when he became a person in my world. I didn’t know exactly who he was. I just knew that there was someone around that was making my mother smile. I had to look way up to see him. I’d never met someone so strong. He’d tell me to hold onto his wrist, and he’d lift me into the sky with one hand. He worked at an auto shop, airbrushing designs onto the side of vans. I think he dreamed of being an artist. But he needed something more stable. So after he decided to marry my mom, he became a cop. He never lost touch with his creative side. He was always building things around the house—making things look fancier than we could afford. He built my first bike from scraps. He encouraged me to read. He encouraged me to write. He loved giving me little assignments. He’d give me a quarter every time I wrote a story. Fifty cents if it was a good one. Whenever I asked a question, he’d make me look it up in the encyclopedia. One day he built a little art studio at the back of our house. And he painted a single painting—a portrait of Sting that he copied from an album cover. But he got busy with work and never used the studio again. He was always saying: ‘when I retire.’ ‘I’ll go back to art, when I retire.’ ‘I’ll show in a gallery, when I retire.’ But that time never came. Dad was a cop for twenty years. He was one of the good ones. The kind of cop you see dancing on the street corner. Or skateboarding with kids. But in 1998 he was diagnosed with MS. First there was a little weakness. Then there was a cane. Then there was a wheelchair. It got to the point where he couldn’t even hold a paintbrush. We did his hospice at home. He seemed to have no regrets. He’d been a wonderful provider. He’d raised his daughters. He’d walked me down the aisle. During his final days, we were going through his possessions, one by one. He was telling me who to give them to. I pulled the Sting painting out of an old box, and asked: ‘What should I do with this?’ His response was immediate. ‘Give it to Sting,’ he said. All of us started laughing. But Dad grew very serious. His eyes narrowed. He looked right at me, and said: ‘Give it to Sting.’ So I guess that’s my final assignment.”
The Humans of NY Post featuring the painting along with family photos was noticed by Sting’s daughter, Mickey Sumner, who connected the woman with Sting so she could fulfill her dad’s final wish.
With the delivery to Sting complete, Humans of New York followed up yesterday on Instagram:
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THE EAGLE HAS LANDED. Thanks so much to @sumnermickey for helping get our precious cargo to her father. She’s also teamed up with Elizabeth to create a fundraiser in Domingo’s memory. All donations will benefit the National MS society, and aid in the fight to end Multiple Sclerosis forever. So let’s keep the party going! Link in bio.
Thanks to Mickey Sumner and Humans of NY, “THE EAGLE HAS LANDED.” Sting posed for a photo with his portrait based on an image from an album cover.
The anonymous woman, who we now know as Elizabeth Santiago, and Sumner have set up a fundraiser in honor of Santiago’s father, Domingo, and “MS Warriors everywhere & the great Dads and Step-Dads of the world.”
Sumner posted a thank you to all on the GoFundMe page she manages with Santiago.
Donations will benefit the National MS society, an organization fighting to cure Multiple Sclerosis. So far the effort has raised nearly $40,000 toward their $100,000 goal. Donate here.