WELLINGTON, Kan. (KSNW) — A Wellington man’s hobby is connecting him to the small community.

About 10 years ago, Jeffrey Maxwell moved back to Kansas from Peru.

He’s always had a love for art, but in 2020, he began putting more hours into drawing, creating portraits of the people he met from Peru and South America.

“It became more of a challenge to see how I could improve cause I know I could do a lot better,” said Maxwell.

Self-portrait by Jeffrey Maxwell (KSNW Photo)

His day-to-day job isn’t art. He helps railroad workers get to and from the railyard.

“I started showing my drawings to my passengers, and they are like, ‘Why are you drawing people from 4,000 miles away,'” said Maxwell.

He said he didn’t know many people in his first six or seven years in Wellington.

“I thought, ‘Who do I draw?’ So I just started talking to people,” said Maxwell.

His weekly visits to the movies led him to his series of drawing people in town.

Kayla works at the snack bar at the Wellington Regent Theater.

She is the first Wellington portrait, Welly No. 1.

Welly No. 1. Kayla by Jeffrey Maxwell (KSNW Photo)

He abbreviates all his portraits in his Wellington, Kansas series as a “Welly” and adds a number to identify each picture.

Identification for Wellington portraits by Maxwell (KSNW Photo)

Postal workers, the former mayor, and the wait staff at The Dore, all faces drawn by Maxwell.

“It’s gorgeous. He is very talented, and I love seeing his progress from his first people that he started to now cause it is drastically different,” said The Dore General Manager Lauren Anderson.

It’s helped him make connections in person, and he’s reached thousands of people on social media.

“Gone to events with people that I’ve met because of my drawings, I’ve gone shopping with them, I’ve gone out to eat, I’ve been to the movies with people that I didn’t know when I started drawing,” said Maxwell.

Over 50 Wellys are now in his collection.

“As long as I’m improving drawing faces, I will continue to do that,” said Maxwell.

He’s put in over 3,000 hours of work.

“When people get to see his work, they understand what a kind human being he is and how talented he really is,” said Anderson.

It’s a unique connection for both the artist and the people drawn.

Maxwell normally uses graphite pencils to create his portraits.

He recently started experimenting with ballpoint pens, a new challenge he is excited to explore.

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