AUSTIN, Texas — An Austin artist’s portrait of former Vice President Joe Biden has been selected to feature on the Democratic presidential candidate’s official merchandise as a tote bag.
Rick Fleming, an Austin portrait artist with an intellectual disability, showcases his work at SAGE Studio, a space for artists with disabilities located inside a shipping container in East Austin.
According to SAGE Studio, Fleming is a supporter of the former vice president and was commissioned to do a tote bag of Biden in August.
“We posted a picture of Rick and his tote, and through a series of serendipitous internet happenings it got the attention of the Biden campaign, who reached out to arrange a call between the VP and Rick,” SAGE Studio said in a Facebook post on Saturday.
Fleming and Biden held a Zoom chat on Saturday, Oct. 10.
“While all of us were incredibly nervous, Rick was cool as a cucumber,” SAGE Studio said. “Rick and the VP chatted about Rick’s art, the VP’s dogs and the importance of wearing a mask.”
In the end, Biden asked Fleming if his campaign could reproduce and sell the artist’s tote bags through its official campaign web store.
On Saturday, Biden posted a video to Instagram showing a portion of his Zoom chat with Fleming.
According to SAGE Studio’s website, Fleming is a drummer and former bodybuilder. His art draws inspiration from pop culture, including classic rock, movies from the ‘80s and ‘90s and WWE wrestling, it says.
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