BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Valentino Dixon has drawn artwork for famous golfers, celebrities, and business tycoons.
But there might never be a commission request that tops the one this Buffalo-based artist received about three weeks ago, from former First Lady Michelle Obama.
"It doesn't get any better," said Dixon. “[Michelle Obama] saw my story on HBO and [her team] reached out to buy a golf drawing for Barack Obama for Christmas,” said Dixon.
Dixon was released from prison in September 2018 after serving 27 years for a 1991 murder he did not commit. A judge vacated Dixon's conviction after the then-prisoner received international attention for his lifelike drawings of golf courses.
Since his release, Dixon's life trajectory has been nothing short of remarkable. Notably, in spring 2019 Dixon was a guest at The Masters, where he met Tiger Woods and Jack Nicklaus. He has exhibited his work in art galleries in Buffalo and New York City, and more recently he launched his own YouTube series. His memoir is set to be released in March.
Now, Dixon can add drawing for the former President and First Lady to his resume. He calls this a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
"It’s not how you start, it’s how you finish. My story is one of faith and redemption," said Dixon, who hopes his story can serve as inspiration for people who are facing adversity.
Dixon tells 7 Eyewitness News that the piece of art Mrs. Obama commissioned is a 20" x 30" drawing of the 12th hole of Augusta National Golf Club. Coincidentally, Augusta is the very first golf course Dixon drew when he was in prison. The Attica superintendent asked him to draw a picture of the course, his favorite, as a favor. That drawing was the first of hundreds he would ultimately create inside his prison cell.
"We’re all going to be tested with something in this lifetime, and we don’t get to choose what test it’s going to be. We've just got to hang in there and stay strong. I’m an example to people that you can overcome everything.”
Along with the artwork, Dixon is also sending a short video to showcase his story and thank the Obamas for serving as an inspiration to him while he was incarcerated.
Mrs. Obama's team did not immediately respond to 7 Eyewitness News' request for comment.