by Laura Bednar
To Sagamore Hills resident Mick Stryffeler, art was a hobby and after his retirement, he decided to share his work with the community and people took notice of his talent.
Stryffeler has produced art through high school, college and into adulthood, taking drawing classes in Cuyahoga Falls.
“It was therapeutic, a stress relief,” he said. “I involve myself in it and nothing else matters.”
Stryffeler worked in a competitive job as an insurance salesman for 32 years and after he retired, he said it was like slamming the brakes on a car. “I have a lot of free time,” he said.
His brother-in-law suggested he sell some of his artwork and his wife got a few people interested in his art. “My wife is my biggest fan,” said Stryffeler.
He draws with pencil or colored pencil, though most are black and white. The subject matter includes homes, pets and parks. As a sports fan, one of Stryffeler’s favorite subjects are stadiums such as Wrigley Field or Cleveland’s historic League Park. He also completed a drawing of the drum the late Cleveland Guardians fan John Adams played at baseball games. On the drum is the team’s former name Indians with the dates 1915-2021, marking the end of an era before the name changed to Guardians. Stryffeler was inspired to create that piece after watching his son, a minor league baseball player for the San Francisco Giants, during spring training.
“If I can see it, I can do it,” said Stryffeler. “I get up thinking about it and say, ‘I can draw that.’”
Another example is the historical “Weeping Angel” statue in Lakeview Cemetery. He saw the statue, decided to draw it and went to work.
He started accepting commissions and showcasing his pieces earlier this year. Stryffeler hired Renee Hardman, who owns a consulting business, to update his social media account and find places to show his art. He recently had his work displayed for viewing and purchase at the Flying Monkey Pub in the Tremont neighborhood of Cleveland.
“At first I was a little nervous [to show my work], but now I like it out there,” Stryffeler said.
He added that he hopes his drawings trigger some nostalgia. “I like the simpler things and I hope people say, ‘I remember that.’”
His work not only brings a sense of reminiscence but benefits the community. Stryfeller recently donated his drawing of the Mahoning County Courthouse in Youngstown to a nonprofit organization that provides art therapy for those with mental illnesses. The organization sold the work and used the money to support its mission.
That piece took a couple weeks to complete, others may take a few days. His timeline for finished products depends on the complexity of the piece.
“I draw three to four hours a day, but it goes fast,” Stryffeler said. “If it was a job, I wouldn’t do it.”
When he isn’t drawing, Stryffeler spends time with his wife of 38 years, four children and five grandchildren. To view his work or to learn more information, visit the Facebook page Sketches by Paps, or email firstname.lastname@example.org. ∞
On our cover: Cleveland’s historic League Park and the drum of late Guardians
fan John Adams are just a couple of the subjects that
Sagamore resident Mick Stryffeler draws. Photos submitted.