Black-owned RichesArt gallery celebrates first year


The RichesArt Gallery, the only black-owned gallery in Austin, recently celebrated its first anniversary with a celebration that included a fashion show accompanied by live painting, music and vendors.

Richard Samuel, artist and gallery owner, organized the evening with one goal: to elevate and promote Austin’s Black and Latino artists and designers. The designers were Austin Alegria, Grunge Incorporated, One Way, Hommemore, Recychlo, November Love and Rase House.

“I wanted them to stay as local as possible,” Samuel said of the June 17 event, which drew around 200 people. “I wanted them to have the opportunity to get their brand out there.”

RichesArt Gallery owner Richard Samuel wrapped up the gallery's anniversary fashion show on the catwalk last month.

Chloe Botello, who showcased her work at the fashion show, is a 22-year-old self-taught designer who upcycles used and vintage clothing for her sustainable fashion brand, Recychlo. While she mainly focuses on her business of making jewelry that can be attached to teeth, Botello spends most of her free time sewing in her bedroom.

“I started designing clothes when I was 17 because a lot of things just didn’t suit me,” Botello said. “Then I went to college for fashion design but dropped out to focus on my dental gem business. Being able to exhibit my clothes at the gallery is amazing.”

Designer Chloe Botello, right, waits for the cue to send the first of her Recychlo designs onto the catwalk at the RichesArt Gallery fashion show last month.

Stevy Red, a 23-year-old designer from Anchorage, Alaska, also launched her clothing line, Hommemore, at the RichesArt event, and her friends and fellow artists said it’s been “a long time.”

“She can do anything. She makes clothes, she DJs, she does animation and music,” said Blameflawless, a musician and model for Hommemore.

“We all come together in one way or another,” Red said of his fellow creatives on the show. “They’re the most progressive group of people I’ve come across since moving to Austin.”

Samuel, who played professional football in Germany and Serbia before becoming a full-time artist, has sold 40 original works and racked up more than 30,000 followers on TikTok.

Richard Samuel, centre, artist and owner of the RichesArt Gallery, poses in front of his works ahead of the gallery's anniversary fashion show on June 17.

“I grew up thinking football was my love and art was my hobby, but it ended up being the opposite,” Samuel said. “I think if I had the financial support growing up, I would have stuck with art. A lot of what I do now is for kids, so they can.”

Since the anniversary, Samuel has been focusing on his new NFT collection, Element Erotica; its Young Creators Scholarship Fund; and Hip-Hop Appreciation Month in August.

“My erotic art has gone viral on TikTok, and I’m releasing these pieces as NFTs,” Samuel said.

NFTs – non-fungible tokens – are digital assets that can be collected and are unique and non-transferable, allowing artists to monetize their work.

NFTs are offered on its website. An original watercolor or signed print will accompany each NFT in the collection, and a portion of the proceeds will help support the Young Creators Scholarship Fund.

On Wednesday night, Samuel hosted an art exhibit ahead of Hip-Hop Appreciation Month in August. The block party-inspired exhibit involved live art, a live DJ set, photo booths and limited-edition merchandise.

Artists Rachel Bell and Jimmy Glodich make last-minute adjustments to the display of their collaborative work during the RichesArt Gallery's anniversary celebration.

“Hip-hop celebration day is in August, so we want to dedicate July and August to it,” Samuel said. “On one side of the gallery will be 15 artists representing J Cole, and on the other side 15 representing Kendrick Lamar.”

At Wednesday’s event, graffiti artists Erik Ross and BOPHO, who spent the evening creating live paintings, were accompanied by a three-hour DJ set consisting solely of tracks by J Cole and Kendrick Lamar.

Erik Ross created J Cole-inspired art and BOPHO portrayed Kendrick Lamar. Their work is on sale in the exhibition, alongside 30 other paintings. The gallery’s exhibit will be on view at the East Austin location through August 29.

Over the next few months, RichesArt Gallery will continue to host various events, including interactive watercolor classes, character drawing classes, and block parties.


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