An annual April experiment in creating a Fake Journal~ FAKE: pretend, simulate; counterfeit; to alter.manipulate.
or treat as to impart a false character or appearance.

A fun exercise in pretending to be someone else, maybe in an alternate universe!

Monday, June 5, 2017

Fake Journal 2017 Wrap Up

Knowing where your next meal is coming from is
something many of us don't have to worry about.

Here's a recap of my 2017 Fake Journal~
The Homeless Artist. This post is picture
heavy, as I've shown all of the drawings
in order. It's a lot easier than going
back through the blog posts from the 
end to the beginning. (click on any image
to view an enlargement.)

We don't hear this phrase often in the U.S.  It tickled my
fancy. I've heard it on British TV, and read it in books.

I used assorted papers from what I had on
hand: newsprint that had been crumpled up as
packing paper, brown paper bag, old forms,
ledger paper, magazine pages, and envelopes.
Whatever I thought might be found in a dumpster...

Phrase overheard in a Chinese restaurant. Coins
might be a precious commodity for someone living
on the street.

Random phrases had been collected prior to the
month of April. Some overheard conversations, 
some heard on the radio, some from
books I had been reading, many from song lyrics.

A manhole cover is something one would see
living on the street. Some have really cool designs.
I think this might be a "Red Green" quote...

A little research on-line revealed that homeless people
can be more than the stereotyped category of " people
with mental health problems."  Some are families,
some live in a car, some are still trying to hold down their
job even though they don't have a permanent address...

Conversation overheard in a BBQ restaurant in Fla. (a guy was
talking to the people at his table rather loudly. We were several
tables away) Matches would be very helpful for lighting a fire to
keep warm, or cook on a camp stove if lucky enough to have one.

I tried to choose things to draw that a person living
on the streets would see often, or something that
was important or helpful to them.

I think this is a quote from
 Roz Stendahl's blog!

Food pantries usually provide canned foods,
so a can opener would be helpful, though 
not everyone has a way to heat their food.

Perhaps not all people living on the streets would
have items for health and grooming, but I read an article  
 about a homeless guy who was still trying to work
his job. It pointed out how difficult it was to get
cleaned up and be presentable to go to work.

Perhaps a stereotype...but sleeping on a 
park bench is still one of those things that
I associate with being homeless.

Collecting aluminum cans is one way for
people on the street to make a little money.

Having good shoes (without holes) is 
crucial, as a lot of walking is required to get
from place to place.

Dry socks are important too. I discovered in several
articles that clothing items get thrown away (for
something better) because they don't have a way
to wash clothes.

The 'Working Homeless' article pointed out that
 they need simple things like needle and thread to sew on buttons or repair clothing.

One reader said this image really 'gave away' the whole concept for this year's journal. Mental illness and a stocking cap. The quote is actually from a rock song I heard on the radio...

I had saved this quote from a book I had read. I found it amusing. Then my research brought up the fact that boredom was a big aspect of the homeless life, and one that leads some homeless to do drugs...just to overcome the boredom.

Another song lyric...accompanied with the
image of panhandling.

Again, song lyrics added to the drawing
of a homeless man.  Drawings in Sharpie
forced me to pare down to the essence of the
image, and choose the most important shapes
and shading to include in the drawing.

The underpass, where a little shelter
might be found.

Water is essential, and the bottle can
be refilled...

What small bit of beauty might a homeless person find in their day? Maybe dandelions...and it was really amazing to me that the random phrases I collected took on a double (or whole new) meaning when paired with the images for this topic.

I think I would go crazy if I didn't have the ability
to listen to my choice of music whenever I wanted to.

Dumpster Diving as shopping, or Resource Collection.

We artists love our stuff! Our huge collections of art supplies really aren't necessary, though they are fun.  This month I used a Sharpie extra fine pen, scrap paper, and crayons. I left the sheets loose, assuming a homeless person would not have the resources to bind a book, or even have a journal. 

Also, the random phrases and styles of lettering
became a more intentional design element of
the page.

This apple had a little bruise. 'Do the sensible thing and grab some produce,' was a quote from Roz Stendahl's blog. She was talking about subjects to draw. I added 'at the shelter'
to fit my fake journal story. As I was drawing, the blemish 
suddenly related to how a homeless person might be viewed, or even view themselves.

An image that points up the fact that not all homeless are living on streets of concrete. Wooded areas (probably adjacent to cities?) are places where homeless set up camps of discarded (or appropriated) building materials. I know plastic milk crates make good 'bookcases' but I never thought of building a whole shelter from them. Any wood, metal, plastic, tarps, trees, rope etc. can become a creative shelter.

The final drawing for the month, from an overhead
photo of a homeless camp in a city lot. Another 
rock song lyric to create interest and meaning.

My 2017 Fake Journal is housed in a frozen pizza box,
something that could be found in a dumpster. I taped on
the wording with masking tape, and tied the box closed
with string.

It was a difficult topic. The subject drained some of the fun out of the challenge for me. I found myself putting off the daily drawing because I didn't know what to draw. I finally made a list to refer to, and that helped. 

I can't even remember why I chose this character. I had originally planned to do another character entirely, then discovered that several people in the challenge were doing something similar. I didn't want to do the 'same thing' although I know it would have been fine. After all, the interpretations of an idea can be dramatically different. 

The last minute change made me wonder how the random phrases would fit...since I'd had a completely different character in mind when I collected them. It was a little unnerving to see how they worked, and their 'meanings' changed when linked with this character's images.

I had a hard time identifying with a homeless person. What in the world would they see, what would they do all day? What would they draw? It's been an enlightening experience. I have no answers to the problem. But I did read several times 
that we need to acknowledge the homeless as people. Don't just look past them. 

A few days into the month of May, I heard a program on the radio about low income housing. Apparently we are getting a lot less low-income housing for a much higher cost. A higher cost than the increase in materials or labor can account for. Developers have been investigated and prosecuted, but more investigations are needed. And of course social services and mental health improvements would
 improve the homeless problem as well.

Humble as it is, I am certainly glad for the roof over my head.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

What's Confusin' You...

By now you've probably figured out
that my character was a homeless
artist, drawing on any scrap of paper,
cardboard, or envelope that could
be useful. Sharpie extra-fine marker
and crayons used.

This photo by Israel Bayer for Street Roots, of
Right 2 Dream Too homeless camp.

It's been an uncomfortable but educational
project this month, beneficial in many ways.
Stay tuned for my wrap-up and conclusions
in a few days. Comments from readers
 are always appreciated! 
Thanks for visiting!

Details Matter.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Essential Equipment

A little cardboard beneath the 
sleeping bag is helpful for insulation
and protection from dampness.
Even summer days can have
cold nights...

Be careful what you wish for...
things don't always work out
the way you planned.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Drawing Behind the Window

Can you see what's behind
the window?  

This shopping opportunity looks

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Wrinkled Color

It's amazing what people
will just throw away.

A window into
the future...

when you aren't sure if you will be
safe at night, it can rob you
of hope.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

View From My Location

Shelter can be found in
some dreary places.

Drink and refill...
drawing on whatever is available.