|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...
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
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
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
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.