Honoring Frank Prickett
Visitation: 1 to 2 p.m. Tuesday at Brown-Dawson-Flick Funeral Home, 330 Pershing Ave.
“Frankie Prickett Memorial Statue” at
A Hamilton fixture and local artist, Frank “Frankie” Prickett, died unexpectedly of a heart attack at the age of 61 on Wednesday night at Wellington Manor.
Over the decades, Prickett had become a mainstay of downtown Hamilton. The mentally-challenged artist would sell or give his drawings of cartoon characters to anyone interested.
Just last month, Miami Hamilton Downtown featured a collection of Prickett's works — along with those of other artists from InsideOut Studio — at the Butler County Board of Developmental Disabilities' Liberty Center.
“Frankie didn’t have a lot of advantages in life, and he took a marker and drawing tablet and made a name for himself,” said Ryan Black, of Hamilton.
A visitation will be from 1 to 2 p.m. Tuesday at Brown-Dawson-Flick Funeral Home on Pershing Avenue.
Hamilton natives Black and William Presley created the Facebook page “Frankie Prickett Memorial Statue” to help raise $10,000 to erect a bronze statue in honor of Prickett. The group has already gained more than 900 followers.
Black said he recalls seeing Prickett often around the streets as he was growing up. He still has a couple Mickey Mouse sketches Prickett created for him.
During his undergraduate studies at Miami University, Black said he chose Prickett to be the subject of his paper on a local hero. Black spent a winter night with Prickett outside the BP station on High Street during his research for the paper.
Black describes Prickett as a “simple man with a good heart.”
“A little bit like Forrest Gump,” Black said. “He told me about his mom and life; he was such a genuine person.”
Rhonda Brown, marketing representative at InsideOut Studio, said Prickett had attended a day program for the last three years, creating art there and allowing the center to market and sell it for him at a better rate than what he was getting on his own.
Half of all sales went to Prickett, Brown said.
“Everybody could see that he had talent from when he had his posterboard and markers, but I think InsideOut Studio was the first studio that had him put on canvas,” she said. “Since he passed away, we want to take that money (from sales) and put it to some type of memorial.”
Stephen Smith, an artist who taught Prickett at InsideOut, said the studio got permission from Prickett’s next of kin to proceed with a memorial project. The tentative idea is a memorial bench along High Street featuring Prickett’s “most famous” characters, including Mickey and Minnie Mouse and Donald Duck, with the quote “I’m a movie star,” which Prickett often said, according to Smith.
Brown said Prickett was loved and accepted by those who knew him.
“He brought laughter to the studio, and we adored him,” Brown said. “He had a raw talent where he would sit down and draw from memory. He never painted on canvas, and we were the first to give him the paint and the tools he needed, and he created beautiful work.”
Prickett was well-known to the city’s residents, she said.
“If you lived in Hamilton, you knew Frank,” Brown said. “It never ceased to amaze me that every time we had an exhibition of his artwork the number of people who said, ‘I remember him,’ or ‘I wondered what he was doing and how he was doing.’
“He was a Hamilton fixture.”
Smith said he’d just seen Prickett a couple days before the news he’d suddenly died.
“I was completely blindsided; time just stopped,” Smith said. “He had fun and enjoyed life.”