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Rags-to-Riches Story Sees Human Compassion and Social Media Turn Homeless Painter into LA’s Next Big Artist


Richard Hutchins

Sometimes the distance between fortune, fame, and ruin is just fire, as Los Angeles painter Richard Hutchins discovered after his Santa Monica studio caught fire.

However, thanks to the power of social media, Richard also understands another distance: the one between homelessness and stardom.

In a real-life story from wealth to poverty to wealth filled with more serendipity than a John Cusack movie, Richard went from living on the street to being exhibited in the largest art gallery in Beverly Hills, to selling millions of dollars. on his unique canvases for the likes of Oprah, rappers 2 Chaainz and Whiz Khalifa, and Philadelphia Phillies slugger Bryce Harper.

“I’ve always asked God to give me the opportunity to introduce myself to the world, and it’s something that drives me,” Richard said. GNN. “My inspiration is people. I’m not trying to get rich, I just want to earn enough to leave something behind so I can continue to help people. [but] the world expanded tremendously. “

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It’s fair to say that as talked about as Richard is, “tremendously” is an understatement. Richard, a once famous artist who had painted canvases for Marvin Gaye and Mohammed Ali, knew the heights an artist could reach, but just a month ago it would have been hard to imagine climbing up to them again.

Brushing with death and god

Richard Hutchins

This totally Los Angeles story begins when Charlie “Rocket” Jabalay, founder of the Dream Machine Foundation, ended his career at age 29 as a manager of hip-hop artists in Atlanta after he was diagnosed with a brain tumor.

“I wanted to pursue the dream I had since I was a kid,” Charlie said. GNN. “That happens to all of us; We buried a dream and built something else, but I was facing death and I thought ‘if I’m going to die, let me pursue my dream,’ and my dream was to become a professional athlete. “

“I lost 130 pounds and I rode my bike across America and did Iron Man and marathons and reversed my brain tumor. All my dreams came true, and that’s why I wanted to start making other people’s dreams come true. I had a conversation with God and asked him ‘You have done so much for me, what can I do for you?’ And God spoke aloud, said ‘go and give love’ ”.

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As forever enshrined on Charlie’s Instagram account, he came across Richard Hutchins sitting in a cart across from Ralphs, saying that he used to be a famous artist and that his dream would be to walk into a museum and see a painting of his hanging on the wall. .

While Charlie and his foundation were spending $ 2,000 to get Richard a canvas and some painting oils, Richard was admitted to the emergency room. At age 70 and battling cancer, thousands of stories have ended up on that page, but not Richard’s. He made it through and was discharged shortly thereafter.

“Out of nowhere,” as Charlie described it, an old friend who happened to run the Cool HeART Gallery, Beverly Hills’ largest art gallery, called the former athlete and, learning about Richard, simply offered to give him an appointment at the end of June. art show with famous Los Angeles artists Ruben Rojas and Richard Orlinksi.

“Charlie kept coming back saying ‘we have a surprise for you’ and each surprise just kept getting bigger and bigger, until I ended up on the red carpet in Beverly Hills,” says Richard.

Let’s go to Dream Machine!

Richard Hutchins

To get support for Richard’s appearance at the show, Charlie’s Dream Machine Foundation I create a Shopify website that Richard sold his art to try to put his life in order.

The results were staggering, with $ 50,000 worth of original prints, canvases, and commissions sold in the first 24 hours, doubling to $ 100,000 just days later. Once again, Charlie was there to capture all the action on his Instagram.

The look in Richard’s eyes says it all.

Steve Harvey bought a print, noticing, “I was homeless and I know what Richard Hutchins is going through. I am honored to purchase your art. Let’s go to Dream Machine! “

Other celebrities like Trey Songz and Will Smith shared the story, the former noting, “this is amazing,” and even their hosting service Shopify produced a little video about instant life transformation that happens in real time.

“I come from South Georgia; At age six I was in the cotton field working after school, and during recess I would take the brown bags and separate them and use fire sticks to start drawing stick men, ”says Richard, reflecting on his journey. “It’s my chance now to pay it off.”

Now Richard has a money manager, a health coach to make sure he doesn’t end up in the ER again any time soon, a new car, and a new career, all without losing track of where he might have been.

“About a minute before Charlie stopped, I got up and started to leave, but on this particular day, which was Easter, I got up and something pushed me down,” explains Richard. “If I had left then, I would never have seen Charlie.”

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“I don’t want to draw attention to myself, I want to draw attention to the problem. I call the president, the vice president, I say ‘come to Skid Row’, that’s my dream: to use my power to better help this place; to better help Los Angeles. “

Since then, Richard has established a foundation named after his late mother for the purpose of providing scholarships to children who cannot afford school. Richard’s canvases are next on the road to Miami, where they will be exhibited alongside those of Richard’s hero Andy Warhol.

A week after going from homeless to 1%, Richard was working to give back everything he could. It is a story that helps us remember many things: compassion, faith in the human spirit, modesty, and reminds us that we never, never give up on our dreams.

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