Formerly Unhoused Artist, Richard Hutchins, Sells $50,000 Worth Of Art In One Day
5th July 2021 by BOTWC Staff
5th July 2021 by BOTWC Staff
It really is amazing what can be done when we support each other.
Formerly unhoused artist Richard Hutchins received support from Oprah Winfrey and is now in negotiations with filmmakers after his inspiring story went viral, The Grio reports.
Less than two weeks ago, Hutchins was living without secure housing. Once an accomplished artist, winning art shows and painting for the likes of Muhammad Ali and Richard Pryor, at some point, Hutchins life took a turn and he fell on hard times. A chance encounter with former music manager, athlete, and philanthropist Charlie Rocket on Easter Sunday changed all of that.
“I went into Target, and I’ve never seen Target closed before, Walmart, Target, they’re just always open. So I was like, you know what, let’s go over to Ralphs, we pull up to Ralphs, and this guy is sitting on a shopping cart with amazing energy. [Richard] said, ‘Nephew, I like your car, let me drive it,” Rocket recalled.
A quick chuckle in the parking lot quickly turned to a talk about Hutchins’ life story and how he landed in his current predicament, being unhoused for the last 6 years. Rocket, a serial philanthropist and founder of The Dream Machine Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to making dreams come true, saw the perfect opportunity to help someone in need.
“I was like, ‘I like this guy.’ How I look at it is, God closed down Target just so I could meet Richard and we fell in love with him ever since...He just started showing us his art and that’s what inspired us to make Richard’s dream come true because his dream was simple, ‘I just want people to be inspired by my work,” Rocket told reporters.
That’s when the two devised a plan to help Hutchins sell his art and inspire people through his work. Rocket started by selling some of Hutchins paintings online, setting up a website for him and encouraging people to buy to help get Hutchins off the street. After kicking off the site launch, by the end of the day Hutchins had made more than $50,000.
The cause went viral and Rocket decided to organize a gallery and auction event for Hutchins. Despite the short notice, hundreds showed up to support, including music mogul and entrepreneur Damon Dash. Overall the event was a success, with Hutchins even selling one of his paintings for $23,000.
“Hey guys, five days ago I was homeless. What I didn’t do, I didn’t give up my dream. I didn’t lose hope. My spirit wasn’t broken. This night is not for me. It’s for every homeless person or homeless artist that is left on the street out there. This is for them. And I promise you to this end, I’ll pay it forward!,” Hutchins told the crowd on the red carpet before the event.
He has already received so much support, rapper 2 Chainz, Rocket’s former artist, being one of the first to purchase a piece, along with Steve Harvey who brought one for $3,000 and Oprah Winfrey, who surprised Hutchins and Rocket via Zoom and purchased one of his paintings for $5,000.
“I saw some of your beautiful art and I said ‘I have to get one of those paintings,’” Winfrey told Hutchins.
His story is inspiring people from all over the world, Hutchins revealing that he even is fielding offers from filmmakers, offering a role that would allow him to play a gallery owner showcasing his own work.
“I got a movie script in last night in email,” Hutchins said.
Now, he is keeping his promise to pay it forward, recently giving away 10,000 prints of his artwork for free to anyone who wanted it. Hutchins even plans on returning back to the streets to help others who are homeless.
“Guys I’ve hooked up with Charlie and I’m going to help do something about skid row, that’s the first thing I’m going to do. I’m going to go back to skid row and see where I can be of use. At this point right now, I have over $200,000 in gross,” said Hutchins.
To purchase Hutchins’ work visit his website here.
“Every purchase you make, goes to helping get Richard off the streets and into a home,” a statement on the site reads.
Photo Courtesy of @charlie/Instagram