The artist behind many of Gulfport’s hazy, fantastical Florida-themed mural work, Keith Stillwagon, has been hospitalized for over a month, and his family asks for “prayers and support.”
Stillwagon, whose iconic murals adorn many Gulfport locations, including Habana Cafe, Gulfport Garage and the Historic Peninsula Inn, has been in the hospital since August after painting a public mural in 95 degree heat.
Stillwagon, 77, suffered symptoms of a heat stroke, among other things, says sister-in-law Mar’Sue Haffner, complicating his recovery.
“He wants to get home and finish the mural,” Haffner said. “He has hope.”
The mural he was painting before falling ill sits at 49th Street and 22nd Avenue, featuring Stillwagon’s distinctive style, but uncharacteristically unfinished.
A Vietnam veteran originally from Flint, Michigan, Stillwagon came to Gulfport with a ponytail and a ready hand. Odd jobs turned into commissions, and over the last few decades Stillwagon has become a Gulfport staple.
“He likes to paint in direct sunlight. He says it helps him see the colors better,” said close friend Jax Taylor. “He’s an amazing, kind, just goodhearted person.”
Stillwagon’s wife, Michelle, has been with him primarily.
“People really love Keith…I don’t want anything but prayers and support at this time,” she said.
See more from Keith Stillwagon at fb.com/StillwagonStudios.