Monthly Archives: April 2018

Stranger 74/100 – Tom

100 Strangers - TomStranger 74/100 – Tom

“Don’t make mistakes like I did…”

Meet Tom.

What advice would you give to your younger self? “Don’t be so stupid.”

Would your younger self know what that meant? “No. {laughs}. Don’t make mistakes like I did… and I did.”

What’s your biggest challenge right now? “Right now? Survival.”

Are you homeless? “Yeah”

For how long? “Oh, I don’t know… a couple years.”

Are there misconceptions of the homeless? “They probably think they’re criminals. I don’t think so. People get into those circumstances like me, not by choice, but happenstance. It just happens. You make mistakes and you make bad choices, then you’re there.”

“My biggest problem is staying out of trouble. I mean people attacking. Oh, I’ve had it happen. I’ve done had my ass beat so bad that somebody called an ambulance for me. They did an MRI on my face, and I wasn’t doing anything. I don’t piss people off. I mean… why? I’m a good guy. I’m easy to get along with. I don’t mess with anybody, and he beat the living shit out of me, and I don’t know why. I still don’t know why. It bothers me. I have nightmares over it.”

Can you tell me about your time in the service? “I was an aviation supply mechanic. I found parts for aircraft… jets, helicopters. I joined in ’75 and I got out in ’81.”

So you missed Vietnam then… “Just… just missed it by nine days.”

What happened after you left the military? “Charlotte firefighter… 15 years. I always wanted to. I wanted to go be a firefighter in the Marines.”

Note: As a general rule, I haven’t approached homeless people for this project to avoid exploiting them in any way. In this case, Tom approached me to ask about my project.

Technical Notes: It was a sunny day, so we moved to a shadier area. I used a reflector to light up Tom’s face. I decided to convert to black & white to make the image more cohesive and to minimize the distracting colors of his hat.

Stranger 73/100 – Joél

Stranger-73–Joel.jpgStranger 73/100 – Joél

“Love more. That’s a universal message that I think people just need to hear and to practice.”

Meet Joél.

What advice would you give to your younger self? “To find your passion and go after it and don’t be scared to take a risk. Take the risks, make the jump, make the connections, meet new people. Do the things that you’re afraid to do.”

What are your biggest challenges right now? “My biggest challenge right now is balancing this corporate career that I’ve built over the last ten, twelve years, maintaining it as well as balancing my creativity, being and artist and not suppressing that art and not suppressing my passion. Being able to fulfill both at the same time. It’s not easy.”

I asked Joél about the conundrum of working a full time job and doing art on the side vs. pursuing art full time. “I like to be able to do what I want when I need to do it. As a citizen in this society, everything costs. To be an artist costs… if it doesn’t cost you, it’s going to cost someone else. So, I figure why not me absorb the cost and I can do things at my own pace. I can do things on my own time. I can do things at will if I have my own resources and if I have my own assets. And I won’t need sponsorships and I won’t need to wait for the go.”

And you won’t need to sell out or compromise your art… “Exactly. It’s a balance that I’ve come to be comfortable with. I’m totally fine with not being a starving artist. I’m totally fine being the working artist who has an office job and I have my fashion line.”

Where do you want to be in ten years? “In then years I see myself successfully running my fashion line… maybe not at a global scale, but like just successfully running it. Producing stuff that people want, producing stuff that I want and just making my impact in a small way. And even if I’m still working corporate, it’s a win-win situation for me.”

If you could put a billboard up in Charlotte, what would it way? “I would tell people to just love more. Love more. Simply that. Love more. That’s a universal message that I think people just need to hear and to practice.”

Technical Notes: It was a bright day, so we moved to a shadier area to avoid any harsh lighting. I used a reflector to brighten up Joél‘s face.

Stranger 72/100 – Bill

100 Strangers - BillStranger 72/100 – Bill

“Don’t be so serious.”

Meet Bill.

What brings you uptown? “Well, I live over here. I’ve got a little studio right down the street.”

What advice would you give to your younger self? “Do everything different.”

What is your biggest challenge right now? “Being an artist in the United States. The United States is not a big art environment. If you go out of the United States, if you’re an artist, you’re much more accepted I think.”

What kind of art do you make? “I’m pretty diverse. I do some illustration… I’m mostly a painter. I’m an oil painter, but I do a lot of mixed media… charcoal and watercolor.”

Where do you want to be in 5 or 10 years? “Maybe I’ll be out of the United States. {laughs}. I like to travel, so I’ll go around and see places that have a lot more art and art is a lot more appreciated.”

If you could put a billboard up in Charlotte, what would it say? “I would never put a billboard up in Charlotte. I don’t know… probably don’t be so serious.”

Technical Notes: I used a small LED panel to minimize the shadows on Bill’s face.