My intent on doing this series of paintings was to bring consciousness and awareness to the complexity of the homeless situation. I began the project in 1999 by taking photos and interviewing individuals on the street, and in shelters, and learning a great deal about this problem. Many of the homeless people talk about how they feel invisible. I understand how difficult it is for many people to really look, see, face, and admit that this is going on in our prosperous country. It’s much easier to turn away and not even really notice the living conditions of people without homes. There are more women and children who are homeless than years ago. There are also many mentally ill, drug addicts and alcoholics, Vietnam Vets, and people like you and me who have just fallen on hard times.
It is my hope that these paintings will help people view the homeless situation with more empathy, putting faces and feelings around the homeless issue – the despair and the spirit of the street people, the humanity and the poignancy – the whole spectrum of emotions and attitudes.
I learned about our common humanity in my early 20’s. At that time I spent 2 years in the Peace Corps, as part of a Rural Community Development Program in Venezuela. I lived in another culture. It was a very small, rural, poor community. Living there opened my eyes and broadened my perspective on people and on life. The similarities of basic human needs among all people became very clear to me. Their desires, their fears, their struggles were mine as well. I saw how we truly are ‘one people’ underneath the various cultural, religious, and individual differences that separate us. I express these feelings about social justice in much of my art. Sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words!