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Richard Hutchinson: Unhoused Artist to World Famous Artist

Richard Hutchinson had led a turbulent life, which started in early childhood when his dad left him with an absent mother. This resulted in Hutchinson being in foster care with nothing and no one. Eventually, he grew up and found acceptance in a group that brought him down a crooked path. Throughout his life, he experienced homelessness many times and found greatness through his art. Hutchinson now focuses on his art and uplifting the homeless community living in Los Angeles’s Skid Row. 

Like many young boys without guidance or a place to belong, Hutchinson sought one out. As a teenager, he fell into a crowd that allowed him to live a particular lifestyle; however, they also led him down a path which resulted in lots of jail time. 

When Hutchinson was down on his luck, he often found himself alone again, abandoned. So, he would make up lies. He would reinvent himself to make people interested in him again to draw people near him.  

This led to his first taste of real fame in the art world. 

Who Is Drew Hill? 

If you or your dad loves football, you may recognize the name. Drew Hill was an NFL Wide Receiver who played for the Los Angeles Rams, Houston Oilers, and the Atlanta Falcons. He played in two Pro Bowls and eventually retired in 1993. 

Now you may be asking yourself, who is this guy, and what does he have to do with Richard Hutchinson?

Well, at the start of his art career, Hutchinson claimed to be ex-NFL player Drew Hill in a bid to jump-start his claim to fame, which ended up working. He became well known in the art world. 

He became so well known that significant celebrities bought his art; Muhammad Ali, Laurence Fishburne, Richard Pryor, and Burt Reynolds. 

Unfortunately, as he gained fame, more people started to pay attention to him, and eventually, the truth came out. An LA Times Report published an entire expose on Hutchinson, telling his absolute lie. 

Soon after, Hutchinson found himself back in jail. While in prison, his studio burned down, and he lost a place to live. 

Reborn

Hutchinson didn’t end up spending that much time in jail; fortunately, it gave him a lot of time to work on his art and himself. 

While in jail, he worked on his art and created a name for himself by drawing on envelopes with m&ms, skittles, Kool-Aid, toothpaste, and coffee grinds and mailing them to any address he could. 

These envelopes eventually gained a significant amount of attention. Many of them can be found in the UC Santa Barbara library.  

However, after jail, he did not have any resources and, unfortunately, was back on the streets again, living in L.A.’s Skid Row. 

Skid Row

After all his success, Hutchinson found himself right back to square one. He was living on the streets, but he had his art; and was using his name. 

However, eventually, his luck changed. One day as he was showing his art at a grocery store, Charlie “Rocket” Jabaley, ex-manager of 2-Chains, discovered him and bought $2,000 worth of art supplies for Hutchinson.

Rocket then opened doors for Hutchinson by holding art openings and introducing him to all the right people.

A Second Chance

Rocket also created a website for Hutchinson and his art. The website then generated a lot of press and revenue. Hutchinson then earned $12,554 off of commissions from his website, and then he made $250,000 by selling his larger pieces to significant celebrities like 2-Chains, Steve Harvey, and Oprah.

He then took that money and put it back into his community. Today, Hutchinson is a homeowner and currently working to help those from Skid Row with the money he makes from his art.

Sources:

https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2021/jul/29/richard-hutchins-homeless-artist-became-sensation

https://richardhutchinstudio.com/

https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=&ved=2ahUKEwiUqN386OX5AhUtkYkEHXeHCMUQFnoECAYQAQ&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.washingtonpost.com%2Flifestyle%2F2021%2F09%2F01%2Frichard-hutchins-artist-oprah%2F&usg=AOvVaw0GzhsSpj14EQsx-e65yOw6

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