Friends and fellow artists last week mourned the loss of Roderice Cardell, an Upstate artist and performer known to many as “The MaDDDArtist.”
A lifelong Spartanburg resident, Cardell died on Jan. 2 at age 33.
Those who knew Cardell said he left a lasting mark on the Spartanburg arts community.
Cardell helped orchestrate and paint the Black Lives Matter mural last year on West Broad Street in downtown Spartanburg. He also spoke at a City Council meeting in June in support of lowering the speed limit from 30 mph to 15 mph on that stretch of road.
He called the mural a “memorial” and “a grieving site for the people in this community and throughout this nation.”
“I was out there yesterday, and there were people trying to take photos because they were drawn, because this message breathes so much, because with you all allowing that to be here in South Carolina … you are stating that this is a safe haven for my people,” Cardell said.
In a Facebook post, the city of Spartanburg said Cardell was an inspiration in his commitment to engaging in important local discussions and advocating for systemic change.
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“As we mourn his passing, we hope to follow in his footsteps of using our gifts to lift up our community,” the post said.
Born Roderice Cardell Gilliam-Wheeler, Cardell graduated from Spartanburg School District 7 and received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Winthrop University, according to his obituary.
“Cardell loved the Spartanburg community and was actively involved in the cause of social justice,” his obituary said. “He was a blessing to everyone he met, imparting love and kindness.”
Friends and family gathered near the Black Lives Matter mural on Jan. 3 to pay tribute to Cardell.
A classmate, Lee Roberts, called Cardell a “beacon among men.”
“His resolve, his artistry, his influence, all wrapped in a humble soul. His creativity knew no bounds, and neither did his charity,” Roberts said.
According to his obituary, Cardell is survived by a maternal sister, eight paternal sisters, seven paternal brothers, four aunts, an uncle and a host of great-aunts, great-uncles, nieces, nephews and cousins.