Richard Spraggins says that growing up in big cities, he was tempted to get into trouble and occasionally did. 

He sees his recent move to Orange as a place that is a little smaller and a lot friendlier to continue his career as an artist. A native of Chicago, he has also lived in Dallas and Houston.

Working out of his house off MacArthur Drive, Spraggins, 35, creates mostly black and white chalk/graphite drawings, some of children and some of celebrities he admires such as Ray Charles, Michael Jackson and Marilyn Monroe.

“These are people that inspire me and many others because they did their own thing,” he says. “I started drawing kids waiting impatiently for their father, or who didn’t have a father. I was attracted to the emotion in their eyes.”

And that’s why he mainly works in black and white. 

“Color takes away from things,” he says. “I want people to see the picture and what I’m trying to show.”

Lately Spraggins has been living off commissioned pieces, and he will work with color if specifically requested.

He offers rates at around $120 – sometimes a little less – sometimes a bit more to offset his own expenses. For instance, if he wants a print from one of his originals, its difficult to find low rates; and he often can’t find supplies he needs in Orange and must travel out of town.

When he first got to Orange, he made some contacts through a magazine published by real estate agent Kelly Coker. And he received quite a few jobs from that. 

“When I was a little kid my mom always had this dream that I would be an artist,” he says. “I didn’t think I knew anything about art, but she told me I had it in me. My father’s an architect so she said I had something in the genes … she’d go around town all day trying to find me an easel.

“I started out with watercolors and drawing animals. I drew a cat and she was mesmerized. And since then I’ve [had] inspiration to draw. But I chose chalk over watercolor because I love drawing in black and white … when I picked up chalk for the first time, and I picked up graphite – I knew that would be my style.”

Spraggins’ Web site is For more about his work, call him at 330-4213 or (214) 245-2000.