A Detroit man who served 45 years behind bars for a crime that he didn’t commit, is forced to sell his personal collection of artwork that he made in prison. Richard Phillips, 72, doesn’t have steady income at the moment, and his lawyer is currently battling the state of Michigan to get him compensated for the wrongful conviction that stole his freedom.
In the early 1970s, Phillips was wrongfully convicted for the murder of Gregory Harris. He was sentenced to life in prison but always maintained his innocence.
Art played a big part in helping maintain his sanity through the sentence. Though he remained optimistic, Phillips admitted that he never truly believed he would be released. To pass the time, he began painting with watercolors. He created over 400 paintings and sent them to a pen pal and was able to retrieve paintings upon his release. He pulled inspiration from everywhere: his favorite artists, photos and even tapped into some of the loneliness that he felt in prison.
Phillips is the longest-serving wrongfully convicted former prisoner in U.S. history.
Phillips’ artwork will be on display at Michigan’s Ferndale’s Level One gallery beginning Jan. 18.
Source: detroit news