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The Man Behind The Napkins

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LA CROSSE, WIS. (WXOW) - The pandemic has taken away laughs and cheers across downtown La Crosse bars, and for one local artist, it's taken away his drawing habitat.

The artist is Mike Mitchell, and for the last ten years, he has been drawing on cocktail napkins at various La Crosse taverns.

Apart of Mitchell's artistic alibi, he goes by the name, Space Whiskey.

In a matter of minutes, he can turn an expendable cocktail napkin into a thing of beauty.

He doesn't accept any money for his artwork, but instead, he gives his napkins away to people he meets at the bar.

"It's been a weird little insight into stranger's lives," said Mitchell.

"I've had conversations with people that went through some stuff and people are partying it up, and just out for a fun time. It really is the broad spectrum of someone that's just looking for somewhere to get away for a little while versus people that are out looking to party. There's a big variance in that interaction and for me, it's been kind of neat to experience all of those things and everything in between with those people," Mitchell added.

It's about the spread of his artwork and the connections that he makes with people while out downtown.

"Initially, I just did it because it was a fun thing to do at a bar and then it became a fun way to interact with people and then became a way to actually give them something for nothing. I like the idea of people come, they see something they like and they can have it and I think it makes the downtown La Crosse and whatnot, just adds a little bit of flavor to it," Mitchell said.

Living during COVID-19 brings a lot of uncertainty, but what we do know, its that artwork thrives in tough times.

To view more of Mitchell's work, you can go to his Instagram page- @space_whiskey

Photography and production for this story by Travis Judell and Steve Bland.

Declan Levy

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