Portrait Brings Robert off the Streets
Today, I received a phone call from Robert, the man with the headphones featured in the video, and he told me that he has put himself into a program and has been clean for a few days! He said that it was because of the portrait I drew of him that he decided to turn his life around.
I am utterly stunned and still trying to process this news, but it is becoming clearer and clearer everyday that this project, drawing people on the streets in a dignified way, is something powerful. Here is what i wrote about Robert just a few days ago:
Robert has his headphones on most of the day, listening to Jazz music, gazing beneath his weathered brow to scenes on the street before him. Almost seconds after meeting Robert, he told me that the number one thing that he wants to communicate to the world is the horror of crack cocaine. Shortly into the conversation, He lifted up his shirt to reveal the scores of large, swollen, red spots on his torso– a problem arising from the drug usage. Despite his addiction, Robert is one of the people living on Skid Row who promotes peace instead of fighting, happiness instead of bitterness. If he is able to overcome his addiction as he desires, his story about a life of crack cocaine will not just be a horror to people, it will also be a story that empowers and promotes redemption.
Now this paragraph has become a statement of the past– Robert has decided to turn his life in a new direction, and somehow, it was art that pushed him toward that change.