My process begins on the street level, walking past tents, trash heaps, and soup lines on skid row, drawing materials in hand, earnestly searching for the right person to engage with. All of these portraits were drawn sitting with the subject, face to face, on the streets. For me, to take time to sit and draw a person, in person, is a vehicle for connection, much of the time without any words at all. I don’t want to just draw the people from this community. I want to know them on a personal level, and instead of donate food or money, I want to donate an ennobling, dignifying experience. By sitting with them eye to eye for hours, just taking in their presence and capturing their essence in artistic expression, an intimate exchange occurs– they are releasing themselves, bearing their lives in an act of transparency, and in turn, receiving a dignified expression of their being.
I draw the portraits on reclaimed objects that are meant to tell a story parallel to the people depicted, a story of being found again and renewed. As the portraits come to completion I integrate shapes, symbols, and materials that resemble traditional images of saints and icons you would see in a cathedral, usually placed as altarpieces or objects of veneration. In this way, the portraits further the concept of restored beauty and become a sacred calling.