Elvis Hatchell grew up in Hartsville in the Oakdale community with a yearning to paint. His secret wish was to someday become a world famous artist.
While he may not be a household name like that other Elvis, he has left his colorful mark on numerous locations around the nation, the world and Pee Dee. Over the last few days he’s added the Darlington County Habitat for Humanity ReStore in Hartsville to that list.
Erin Petro, the manager of the ReStore, came up the idea for painting the mural, which displays the Habitat for Humanity logo in a rainbow of colors. She met Hatchell about a month ago and, in the course of a conversation, she discovered that he painted murals. She asked if he would be interested in the Habitat project and he agreed to take it on.
Hatchell said he started the project this week. With Petro’s help in painting the background colors, he’s worked several hours each day. Hatchell said he should have the mural finished before Saturday.
Hatchell’s love for painting began with the encouragement of his teachers at Thornwell Elementary School. He says he began to explore the world through painting, first working with pastels and chalk.
“I had a learning disability, but excelled in art,” Hatchell said.
He recalls getting get rolls of paper from Sonoco to use as his canvas.
While in the fifth grade at Thornwell, Hatchell remembers painting his first large piece of artwork, an ocean scene with people on the beach dressed in swimsuits from the roaring twenties to the bikini age.
He said still has and cherishes one of his first paintings of a pheasant and her biddies.
As he grew and honed his painting skills, people took notice. Numerous murals painted by Hatchell grace the sides of buildings throughout the Pee Dee region. He said his artwork has made its way into all 50 states and 31 foreign countries.
Hatchell said his abilities with a paintbrush are a God-given talent, ones that give expression to his life.
“I give the good Lord all the credit,” Hatchell said.
Often inspired by songs, Hatchell has painted four inspired by the rock band Creed and five by the Christian Contemporary music group The Casting Crowns.
He admits that some of the things he has produced have even amazed him.
Hatchell said he has often conversed with God, saying, “There is the paint, the brush and my hands. Now you paint what you want.”
This story originally appeared on SCNow.com and was written by Ardie Arvidson.