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Grad’s Artwork Hits the Big Screen April 15

Richard Wilson (Photo by Timothy Bullock)WINTERVILLE—The motion picture “Barbershop III: The Next Cut” hits theaters April 15, and those planning to see the film will want to be on the lookout for Pitt Community College graduate Richard Wilson’s artwork.

Wilson, a 2007 PCC Advertising and Graphic Design graduate and former adjunct instructor at the college, will have several of his original paintings on display in the movie. He says the art decorates the home of lead character Calvin Palmer Jr., played by actor/musician Ice Cube.

Wilson says Ina Mayhew, set designer for Tyler Perry, a Hollywood writer, director, producer and actor, contacted him about using his paintings in “Barbershop III.” The two met while Wilson was showing his art in Atlanta several years ago.

“(She) attended my exhibit and she fell in love with my work,” Wilson said. “We kept in touch. Every year I exhibit in Atlanta, I would invite her to my show.”

All told, five of Wilson’s paintings were purchased for the film. The pieces were “Live Bait,” which depicts a little boy and girl fishing, “Southern Connection” (a girl standing at the end of a country path), “Quiet Moments” (a granddaughter and granddaddy fishing), “Long Way Home” (a girl walking down a path) and “Picking Flowers” (a girl picking flowers).

For those unfamiliar with the comedy film series, which launched in 2002, “Barbershop III: The Next Cut” is the third installment depicting life at a South Side Chicago barbershop.

Wilson, who says he hasn’t spoken to any of the actors in the film as of yet, said he was excited to learn his artwork would be used in the movie.

“This was something that I had always dreamed of happening,” he said. “I used to watch ‘The Cosby Show,’ ‘Good Times’ and ‘The Fresh Prince of Bel Air’ and admire the art that filled the walls and would think of how cool it would be to have my work on a major sitcom or movie for millions of people to see.”

When “Barbershop III” opens next month, Wilson says he will be exhibiting his work at the Main Street Art Festival in Fort Worth. He says he plans to watch it with his family when he returns home from Texas, though, “probably several times, to be honest.”

In the days leading up to the movie’s release, Wilson says he will be visiting area barbershops and salons to exhibit his art and talk about his journey as an artist. A one-night exhibit at Greenville’s Emerge Gallery to celebrate his work being in the movie and kick off his own Barbershop Tour is scheduled for April 1. The first stop on his tour will take place the following day, and future tour dates will be posted on his website, www.richardwilsonart.com.

Born in Robersonville and raised in nearby Conetoe, Wilson has been painting since he was eight years old and has won numerous awards for his work, including two from the Pastel Society of America. One of his paintings was featured on the cover of Sunshine Artist, a national art publication, and another, depicting tennis legend Arthur Ashe, was purchased for museum display by the International Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport, R.I.

Last year, Wilson finished in the Top 10 of a national label design contest organized by the Blue Moon Brewing Company in celebration of the company’s 20th anniversary.

“What I've worked so hard for is really starting to take off like I anticipated it would one day,” Wilson said. “This is just another confirmation that my prayers, hard work and dedication are being answered.”

Wilson’s pastels range from scenic landscapes to old tobacco barns that dot Eastern North Carolina’s landscape. His favorite subjects, though, are sports and children, with his three daughters serving as his inspiration. PCC has purchased several works, including one that hangs in President G. Dennis Massey’s office.

The 44-year-old Greenville resident also paints portraits. In fact, he became the first African-American to have a portrait hanging in a North Carolina courthouse when his rendering of North Carolinian George Henry White—the last former slave to serve in Congress—was put on display in the Edgecombe County Superior Courthouse.