Meet the artist who completed Michael Jordan ‘Taking Flight’ pencil drawing in 250 hours

By 2015, Keegan Hall had given up on his childhood dreams of becoming an artist, not drawing for over a decade after starting a career in sales and marketing. 

Then his mother, Lisa, passed away that year, and as Hall put it, he "couldn't get away from drawing." 

"Art was never part of the plan, but every time I thought I would fail, something kept pushing me forward," Hall told USA TODAY Sports by phone. "Losing my mom rocked me to my core, and it's what got me back into drawing to self-medicate through the grieving process. She's what kept me in drawing, too." 

Hall's journey back to art – he now creates pencil portraits full-time – blended with his love for sports and sparked the idea for realistic drawings. Sports stars in the Seattle area, near his home, have noticed his talent. 

His latest project, a portrait of Michael Jordan taking flight in the 1988 NBA dunk contest, took him 250 hours to create. After the drawing was shared through social media, Hall's website crashed. The final product is a 22" x 30" piece that Hall calls his "most ambitious project ever taken." 

Keegan Hall drew an epic rendition of Michael Jordan in the dunk contest. (Photo: Photo courtesy of Keegan Hall)

Because some people on social media claimed the drawing was a fake, Hall posted a time lapse to showcase the 250 hours it took to complete. 

In 2016, he created artwork of former President Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle. 

In one of his first major projects, Hall connected with Richard Sherman when the cornerback was still playing for the Seahawks and collaborated to sell 200 prints for $200 each, with all the money going to a charity. That started the #Keegan200 trend in which he partners with athletes, who then chose the charities. 

"It sold out the next day for $40,000 instantly," Hall said. After Sherman came a Kam Chancellor drawing. Russell Wilson reached out, and rapper Macklemore followed. "One thing kept leading to the other. It's been a huge community of people keeping me going," Hall said.

Hall said his art is the product of a difficult upbringing. He grew up in a trailer park with his sister, Joanna, who has cerebral palsy. 

"I knew I wanted to give back to kids like me growing up," he said. "There's a (power) art can have to reach people." 

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