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Chicago native Arthur J. Williams was once the country’s most notorious counterfeiter of the $100 bill and printed almost $10 million in fake hundreds before ultimately going to federal prison for seven years. It was in prison when he began taking art lessons, studying art history and ultimately fell in love with painting. Upon release, he began a job as a janitor, while continuing to foster his love for painting at night. Nine months later he had his first art show in Chicago, and has since built an incredibly successful career as an artist, even creating art for Hollywood’s elite. He also does a significant amount of charitable work.
Now, all of Arthur’s art is centered around the one hundred dollar bill motif. As LondonHouse celebrates our building’s centennial anniversary, we’re thrilled to roll out Arthur’s “100 Thoughts of Color” collection. There are four of his pieces on display in the windows on our first floor. There are also a few pieces throughout LH Rooftop restaurant. Prices range from $5,000 - $50,000.
Interesting facts about Arthur's journey:
💵 Counterfeited as much as $10 million dollars. His bill of choice? The "impossible to replicate" 1996 one hundred dollar bill.
💵 At his trial, the judge asked, "How long did it take you to figure out how to do this?” Arthur told him 15 years. The judge said, “Have you ever thought of what you could have done if you had spent all that time doing something good?” It completely changed his perspective.
💵 While in prison, he took a painting class that started his journey.
💵 After prison, one showing led to another as well as making great connections. One of those connections happened to work for After-School All-Stars, Arnold Schwarzenegger's non-profit organization. They invited him to donate a few paintings and they would split the proceeds. When the paintings were auctioned for $180,000, Arthur donated his proceeds to help kids. Art had saved him and he hoped it would do the same for someone else.
Arthur has been featured in Rolling Stone Magazine, has a book The Art of Making Money, with a second underway. There are talks of a forthcoming film based on his life.
Come for a drink and view some art from a true Chicago underdog.
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