Oprah, Film Producers, 50K One Day Sales: Homeless Artist Hits It Big

If there was ever a story to display the tenacity of the human spirit, it would be the tale of Richard Hutchins. Not many are lucky enough to rise from the polarizing experience of homelessness. In fact, studies show that over 500,000 Americans are living life without a roof over their head.

This makes the empowering story of this persevering artist’s rise to fame is enough to warm anyone’s heart. With a lot of hard work and a great deal of luck, Hutchins’ paintings have garnished viral attention, even catching the eyes of talk legend Oprah Winfrey and a handful of Hollywood big wigs.

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Who was Richard Hutchins?

When he first began selling his portraits back in the early 2000’s, he didn’t go by the name Richard Hutchins. Instead, he took upon the alias former Los Angeles Rams player, Drew Hill. This fake identity served as a sort of sales tactic to cajole people into purchasing his portraits of prominent African American figures.

Richard, who was currently living rent free with a fellow artist, got a great deal of recognition from being featured Santa Monica Daily Press column. The article brought a great deal of attention to the artist work and even gave him the confidence to launch his very first art gallery. Though this was all under the gauze that Huctchins was actually Drew Hill.

A post shared by Richard Hutchins (@richardhutchins.studio)

Though everything blew up in Hutchins face when he was arrested for burglary and thrown into the LA County Jail. The writer responsible for SMDP article that gave him false acclamation pleaded to the NFL and other company’s to try to get what he thought was a down and out football star behind bars. Though, when Richard’s was taken into custody, he admitted that he was an imposter.

“At some point I contacted Jerry Crowe, a well-known sportswriter for the L.A. Times, hoping that publicity might be helpful to Drew’s case,” says Santa Monica Daily Press writer Jack Neworth, “In between phone interviews with him, Crowe was informed by the Sheriff’s Department that they had an imposter on their hands. When Crowe confronted Drew he admitted that he was “not the football player.”

From the Streets to His Own Arts Show

The artist didn’t waste his time in prison fouling around. He continued to explore his creative side by crafting art pieces out of unconventional materials like M&Ms, Skittles and coffee grounds.

Though, as it is in most cases, Richard found himself without a home when he was finally released from prison. Of course, even the demoralizing experience of homelessness could not stop Hutchins from showcasing his talents. The down and out artist continued to craft pieces of that mesmerized those who were lucky enough to see them.

Last month, after canvasing his work around the city, Hutchins ran into non profit CEO, Charlie “Rocket” Jabaley in a grocery store parking lot. It didn’t take long for Jabaley, 2-Chainz former manager, to begin plotting how to make Hutchins career blow up.

Their lucky encounter resulted in Hutchins getting to display his craft his own art show, presuming the first one of his since his incarceration. As part of the CEO’s Dream Machine Foundation, all proceeds for the event went directly towards getting the artist off the streets. A whopping 500 patrons attended the event, notably Roc-A Fella co founder Damon Dash.

A post shared by Richard Hutchins (@richardhutchins.studio)

As if that wasn’t enough, Jabaley took his devotion to uplifting Hutchins’ career even further by making him his own professional website. Because of this, the artist has been selling his work to a number of A-list celebs. According to TMZ, one of the first people to buy one of Hutchins’ paintings was none other than Jabaley’s former partner 2 Chainz. All together, Richard has sold around $200,000 in art!

Enter Oprah (and Hollywood?)

Whenever there’s a huge story of astonishing accomplishments in the face of adversity, Oprah Winfrey tends to always have her finger on the pulse. This instance was no different.

Hutchins and Jabaley had Zoomed in for an Entertainment Weekly interview with the TV vet’s daughter Thando Dlomo.

“Richard, I have somebody who would love to meet you, who honestly has been so inspired and so excited by all that you’ve been doing, just like the rest of the world,” Dlomo hints as her mother waltz onto the screen.

The two were mouth a gap, as most people would be in the presence of Oprah. But the astonishment didn’t stop there.

“I saw an Angela Davis portrait, it was like $150? So listen, I’m gonna pay $1,500 for that, because it needs to be at least 10 times what you’re asking for it.”

So what’s next for the rags to riches artist? Well, according to the Black Enterprise, you might just se him on the big screen. He explains that he’s already been offered a movie role to play, ‘none other than an art gallery director who gets to have his real-life work on display in the film.’

Now if that’s not a happy ending, what it?

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Sources: Santa Monica Daily Press, Dream Machine Foundation, Oprah Daily, Black Enterprise

 

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