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  • Pro wrestler Ric Flair owns a Brad Hudson original

    Tuesday, January 15, 2019
    Ric Flair with his Brad Hudson original

    To be the man, you have to paint the man - or more precisely, paint a portrait of the man. 

    The portrait subject is legendary pro wrestler Ric Flair; the painter is UMES art professor Brad Hudson

    The two became social media acquaintances in 2018 after Hudson crafted an interpretive drawing of the (retired) Nature Boy that he gave as a birthday gift to a friend. On a whim, Hudson also posted the image online and tagged the “styllin', profilin' … son-of-gun” hoping to get Flair's attention. 

    It worked. 

    Flair reached out to Hudson with a compliment, and inquired whether the founder of UMES' sequential arts program might consider doing a second portrait. 

    “He was saying how he liked my work,” Hudson said, “... and that he wanted a piece for his house.” 

    After some initial hesitation, Hudson concluded the overture was legitimate and the two subsequently established a private online dialogue. 

    “Flair is a larger-than-life character,” Hudson said, so he jumped at the opportunity to fulfill the request. Hudson sent Flair preliminary sketches to get the project rolling. 

    Hudson has a studio in his Mardela Springs home, but the Flair portrait was visible in the Thomas & Briggs Arts and Technology Center on campus, where UMES students could watch progress on the 18-X-24 inch oil painting take shape. 

    “I try to demonstrate (to students) good practices of a working artist,” Hudson said. “How it's important to meet deadlines, make connections and engage in networking to get your name and your work out there.” 

    Hudson's work IS out there, alright.

    Sequential art professor Brad Hudson

    He's a licensed Star Wars illustrator, a coveted designation that evolved from a chance meeting with a trading-card company representative who recruited him to create one-of-a-kind images to promote the 2015 film, “The Force Awakens.” 

    That exposure led other marketers to enlist him to do collectible drawings, such as AMC's “Walking Dead,” the Netflix series “Stranger Things” and installments in Marvel's film series such as “Avengers Infinity War,” “Guardians of the Galaxy II,” “Thor Ragnarok” and “Spiderman.” 

    Hudson estimated he spent 10-to-12 hours on the Flair painting, which he mounted in an ornate gold frame emblematic of Flair's over-the-top ring persona that included wearing sequined robes into the “squared circle.” 

    Hudson sent it off in early December. 

    On Dec. 19, Flair posted a photo of himself online, standing in his Atlanta-area home holding the Hudson portrait. 

    “Thank You To Brad Hudson For The Phenomenal Fan Art,” Flair wrote. “Love It! WOOOOO!” 

    Social media being the echo chamber it is, Hudson quickly was overwhelmed by best wishes and congratulations from friends and professional acquaintances. 

    “I've gotten a lot of attention from wrestling fans,” Hudson added. “My (late) dad would have been amused by this whole situation.” 

    UMES' Brad Hudson: Artist to the Stars. Wooooo!