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Obama's victory inspires homeless painter

It began when Daryle Burch took a break from painting a business on E Martin Luther King Boulevard. He saw a Barack Obama campaign flier and noticed Obama's skin tone matched a nearby convenience store. Inspiration met opportunity. In 30 minutes he was done. He had painted Obama's face on the store's side wall. The impressed owner asked for another Obama on the front. Then barber Abdur-Rahim "Max" Abdullah, whose shop is nearby, commissioned a mural for his building. He wanted Obama getting a hair cut. The story in Daryle's words:

"I told Max that I can paint your face in there, and he said 'great.' I bummed a smoke off a homeless guy recently and he said to me, 'Ain't no reason you don't have a pocket full of money, because you can draw.'

"I have a beer every hour or two. It keeps my hands from shaking. If I regret anything, it's that I started drinking at 15. It took me out of my shell. I was a bashful kid.

"I'm just kind of drifting now. I don't really know what tomorrow holds … You gotta job for me?"

Burch, 58, walked out of the Hillsborough County jail about six months ago with no money and a fistful of drawings he penciled while serving time. He drifted into the College Hill neighborhood of Tampa and now shares a narrow abandoned porch with three other men.

Obama's victory inspires homeless painter 11/06/08 [Last modified: Monday, November 10, 2008 12:26pm]
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