Before the expensive boutiques, trendy restaurants, and droves of tourists made it something we hardly recognize, Wynwood was a haven for artists, hustlers, and those who had finally found a place to belong. This was before the guided neighborhood art tours, because back then we knew every street artist by name. It was a place full of hope for what Miami could be. And if you were fortunate enough to be part of that space and time you knew “Nobody.”
I met the artist three years ago while working at Panther Coffee. He strolled in in his typical style: baggy jeans covered in paint, a sleeveless hoodie, a longboard tucked underarm, and a look of mischief in his eyes. He said his name was “Nobody,” and it seemed fitting.
He was a one-man Wynwood welcoming committee, assuring everyone that they belonged here. He wanted to make sure that everyone felt they had a place in the neighborhood that had made him, a misfit in so many ways, feel as if he had a home.
He loved Wynwood more than anyone I’ve ever known. And Wynwood loved him back. He poured his heART into the people of the community and he quickly became a welcome guest in every space, including those where a black street artist in old paint-stained clothing would have prompted curious stares. It was a common sight to see him skateboarding around the neighborhood, dancing for hours at Wood Tavern, dining at Jimmy’z Kitchen, painting on the sidewalk, or chatting it up with newcomers to the neighborhood.
He told me I was beautiful, that I was a queen. And that was a sentiment he repeated to me daily as he ordered his large vanilla latte. We became fast friends. But it wasn’t just me. He became a staple of the coffee shop and I would watch, amused and in awe, as he greeted strangers he met there with the same warmth and love that he bestowed on me. He’d post up with his paints and create portraits of the people he saw on pieces of spare cardboard or pages torn from his sketchbook.
Once he finished, he would introduce himself and offer up his drawings to the strangers, who often looked alarmed and confused. But then he would explain to them what it was about them he found beautiful and offer up the drawing as a gift. By the end of the conversation, the stranger would become his friend. They’d pose for a picture together, which he would post on his Instagram with a caption about that person and their interaction.
It’s these heartfelt and genuine connections we remember most as we mourn his loss. On Monday afternoon he was found dead in his apartment after committing suicide.
It’s strange to speak of him now in past tense because he’s still so much alive. Not only does he live on in the walls of the streets, galleries around the world, and in so many homes of people he freely gave his art to, but he is alive and well in the stories we tell. For the many that knew him, the stories about him always resonate the same — “he showed love” is the phrase used over and over. His tag “Art Is My Weapon” was his mantra.
It was not just an art line, but the way he lived his life. He used art to combat his own personal demons, but it was also how he waged war against a system that pitted us against one another. He felt it was his job to level the playing field and call bullshit on these invisible boundaries and man-made constructs that separated us. That’s why his moniker “Nobody” was so fitting, because while he sold art to wealthy collectors worldwide, he wanted every single person he encountered to feel as if they mattered.
His name was Scott Patterson. And although he called himself “Nobody,” he was somebody to us. He was somebody to the kids at the community centers and schools where he volunteered and taught art. He was somebody to the many, many people inspired by his art and the message of love in the face of hate. He was somebody to a community that knew him well. He was somebody to the friends he cherished. He was somebody to his family, whom he bragged about often. He was somebody we will never forget.
One of the lines he used repeatedly in murals and paintings featured the words “Love Stories Suck,” and in getting to know him you saw quickly that he’d had a difficult life. He fought poverty and violence, and having seen so much, he came out of it still only wanting to show people that there were other ways to deal with hardship. His was art, but he believed and expressed that we all had something that made us somebody. So while the words “love stories suck but…” was repeated often in this work, it’s important to pay attention to the “but.” There is always a but. This wasn’t about heartbreak and loss, both of which he know plenty about, it was about the but, the hope that follows.
It’s more than a little ironic that he also branded himself as “TMNK” or the “The Me Nobody Knows,” because in a sense that was what he was at the end of the day. Someone we all knew, but he revealed little about the depths of his struggles with others, save a few. He gave so much of himself to any and everyone, sharing his gifts with anyone who looked like they needed a smile. More than his remarkable artwork, so reminiscent of that of Jean-Michel Basquiat, he will be most remembered for his ever-ready willingness to love.
His love story, the one he lived, the one he shared with Wynwood, the one he spent every waking moment spreading, the one plastered on the walls of our city and our lives, may have ended tragically, but serves as a reminder to care for one another.
A comment on a social media post is not the same as a phone call or the human touch. A “like” does not equate to love. Lets remind those around us that we are there for them, that we love them, and that our community should hold up the artists that hold it down.
So for Nobody I say this…
Love stories suck, but yours was not in vain.
Switchboard Miami is a local suicide prevention hotline and the phone number is 305-358-HELP, they’re online 24/7 .