I walk my dog every morning and today met a man who I took to be homeless at our complex’s trash bins. He was breaking apart an unused canvas; I asked him what he was doing and why. He told me he likes to do his artwork on smaller pieces of canvas and then attach the work to tiny boards. Fascinating, I thought!
I told him I’d like to see them. He disappeared for a second and came back with at least a dozen 3” x 4” drawings done in pencil and crayon and perhaps paint, too. I thought he had taken them from a shoulder bag, figuring that a homeless man has to carry all his possessions! In fact, I remembered seeing two duffle bags when I first saw him. He showed me a piece he called “Homeless Devil.” He told me it shows another homeless man taking apart a bicycle that he is stealing. The red-horned devil in the drawing was sitting on top of the bike and using tools to break it apart. He had a big grin on his face! Here is an amazing coincidence — someone had recently stolen our bike wheels out of our bicycle storage room. Someone had left the door ajar. I told him this, and after he heard what I had to say, he said he was almost sure one of his friends had done that! Sigh!!!
He told me he is blind in one eye and had been homeless for 20 years. He does his art without glasses at first and then puts his glasses on to complete the piece. I asked him what had happened to his home — did something bad happen? He said, “no, I am an artist, and that’s all I care about.” Okay, I thought to myself. He further told me many of his friends are nice people. I nodded and said I heard that many of them don’t care for others’ help.
He then said he could tell that I am an artist. I blurted out that I have done business all my life but i like art. (Now that I am older, I am getting even more interested in the subject.)
He then told me he is working on videos. What a surprise that was to me. He creates video clips using subjects and stories from other homeless people. I asked if someone was helping him produce them. He said, No, he uses his phone for that! “Ah ha,” I exclaimed aloud. “smartphones are boundless tools, aren’t they?”
Then he told me he has a website (another amazing disclosure) and I should check it out. I don’t remember the URL, sorry.
I asked how much he charges for his work but he didn’t answer that. Instead, he told me he usually sits in front of the Cheesecake Factory or Tiffany store on Colorado Boulevard. “I will find you,” I told him, and I left to finish my walk with Morrison. What a morning!