Home Less

The Construction of a cardboard village had my mind running, my imagination turning. First, the excitement of making new things and then the sadness of the state of our community would come to mind.  From seeing all the trash that we discard daily, to confronting issues of use and re-use, and each of our “places” in society.  Building cardboard houses most notably lead me to think about homelessness.

Homelessness is a state of being, a view of reality very relatable for me. The sense of having a home is a feeling that has eluded me for my whole life. In so many ways, I yearn to know the comforts of being in my place.   For as long as I can remember I’ve had anxiety about the places where I live.  When this tension began I do not recall, but it started when I was very young, then adolescence manifested into a reality which has become the true story of my current situation, adulthood.

Meandering debris in a jet stream, going on a couple of decades now.  From place to place, from one room to another, from one temporary residence to another, the current never stops. This lifestyle has come to suite me. At first, it was something forced upon me by my circumstances and experiences, and now its something that I choose to go along with.

When memories began, every day I was in trouble for something, sometimes deservingly, sometimes not so much.  Daily I lived in fear of punishment. So for me, the home I grew up in wasn’t a place to call home but more of a place where I go to be beaten down and made to feel like a prisoner. This feeling is the modern America I’ve come to know; this is just the way it is now.  So few live the ideal impressed upon our minds by a previous generation who knew not what they did. We grew up abandoned, reckless; growth forced not nurtured.  A young adult is coming of age too fast, actual adults, maybe never.

Common ground, we come together, like vagabonds we move, we drift, we move on to new ways of living, being, seeing, thinking, and living.

Coping mechanisms engaged, our bedrooms become hideaways, practicing art obsessively, escaping reality. My home, my box with a door, became just the place I avoided.

The 18th rotation around the sun, the countdown begins, I begin the departure of my resting place and began drifting, already accustomed to having no comfort. This way of life has its ups and downs, its freedoms and restrictions.

This way of living has both enabled me to be an artist as well as made it very difficult to sit and make things

Over the past 15 years, I have moved every four months with only a few exceptions. The only thing that has been consistent is the change.  I’ve gone from glowing with enthusiasm and success to the depths of hell.  I have slept in king beds in mansions and have spent nights on skid row.

My home is my heart,  it is my mind.  I drift, but I remain with my dreams, they have become my home and the place I go home to at night to feel in my place.  As an artist, my creativity has become my castle.

This way of life wears thin. The things I once desired had now come and passed yet still I remain with this lack of a place to put my trust, lack of comfort, lack of places to be. Homelessness affects too many people in our city. Some have no choice; some are stuck, some make this decision, some would rather not. Mental health, sanity, addiction, fear, poverty disease lead us here.  This topic is one that needs to addressed and ignored no longer. It has become a prevalent issue, and we need to quit ignoring it. Many children in this community have no place to go, and this is something that must change.

Even though I always felt unwanted and uncomfortable, I did always have places to go. Friends and family still offered me an escape. Then one day, I decided to go exploring, and I discovered the comfort under a bridge while I spent several hours under a bridge painting my name.  From this moment on I always felt most comfortable hidden away in the underside of the city, on the streets and beneath them. But I am a fortunate one who now always knows a place to go; not everyone knows how to find these sacred sites.

These streets will always be home, to me, to so many.  I paint in these streets because I take pride in the places I live.  I want to make our community a better more enjoyable place whether you are seeing the art from a car, or a bike, on foot or behind a shopping cart. I want to create work which will uplift and engage people. I want to create work which makes people want to stop and observe or even go out looking for it.

This was one thought that I had while making the “Villagers: Layer1”.  Layer one was an installation art project in Songbird Cellars.  These buildings were a collaboration between Olms, Vogey, and myself.   The installation was the first part of a new series of art installations and murals in the city of Pueblo. This current project is called “The Villagers”.  “The Villagers” is a series of painting which is being painted throughout the city of Pueblo.  Some  Villagers will appear in nice places and some of them hidden in alleys in less desirable sides of town.  I hope to create a public art project which gets people exploring and also interacting with one another in parts of the city that go mostly unseen.  I plan to document this whole project with as much detail as possible and create a narrative of truth in Pueblo never before seen.

I am raising money for this project currently.
I would like to raise at least $2000 to start.  With this money, I will create an art experience within the city which will be unique, engaging, community-based, and made with love.

Author: refic


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