Michelle Obama has just purchased a painting from a Buffalo artist, Valentino Dixon, who was recently released from prison after serving 27 years for a crime he didn’t commit.
After HBO made a special about his life story, he has many new fans. According to Cleveland’s WKYC Studios 3, after she saw the special, Mrs. Obama contacted him and asked if she could purchase one of his golf paintings for her husband.
“She’s not too big to reach out to somebody on my level, who is really nobody in comparison [to her], so that’s just a great feeling,” Dixon said.
According to his website, Dixon was wrongfully accused of the murder of Torriano Jackson at a nightclub in Buffalo in 1991 due to shaky witness testimony and pressure from the police department to get a conviction. The real shooter even confessed two days afterwards.
He was sent away to Attica Correctional Facility for a 38-life sentence. It was there that he found his love of painting golf courses.
From his website:
“At one point, the warden at Attica Correctional Facility asked Valentino to draw the 12th hole of the legendary Augusta National Golf Club. Valentino, who had never set foot on a golf course and knew nothing about the sport, starting drawing images inspired by photos in the magazine Golf Digest. Eventually, Valentino even drew his own golf creations and said that golf art became his escape from the harsh reality of prison.”