HOUSTON, TX - Artists use many things to draw inspiration from, but Charles Washington doesn't have to look very far for his. That's because he uses his life to create his work.
"I had to take my creativity from what I saw," Washington explained. "It's coming from the soul. It's coming from my culture."
To try and put Charles' work in one category would be impossible. His work focuses on a wide range of techniques and forms. And his success isn't something that was accomplished overnight.
"I was homeless once, so being homeless you start and you realize if you really want to be successful, you start at that point," he said. "I spent maybe five years of just creating art work, and people ask how much that is. Hypothetically, I got $2 million worth of artwork. That's my mindset; to be able to create a lot of work, you brand yourself. You put yourself in different positions and then you work your process."
Charles' work is reaching an even bigger audience now. He's teamed up with the Urban League, an organization that focuses on enabling African-Americans and other minorities in the community.
"This is a vision we've been talking about for a while of trying to bring everything we have that relates to education into the building. Obviously art and music is a big piece of what helps the creative mind to develop," said Judson Robinson, Urban League. "Mr. Washington has such a tremendous story, so he can tell you about his life and inspire people, but he can also explain to you about what art means and what it's supposed to do."
Even though Charles has an extensive resume of work, he's nowhere near the end.
"The accomplishment of what I'm doing right now is an endless tunnel because I feel that as long as I'm able to be thankful to get up in the morning, I will never have the satisfaction of saying this is it," Washington said. "I'm a pretty good artist, but I'm a really good thinker. I'm a thinker, and I think that trumps everything else I do."