Recently I had the pleasure of interviewing Los Angeles artist and humanitarian ‘Skid Robot’ about his work with the homeless. The story has gripped countless people around the world, starting with the powerful visuals he has created but hopefully continuing with changes in attitude in those of us who have been touched by the story.
When you think of how people see those less fortunate than themselves, it’s often in a negative way. However, through the power of imagination and a burning desire to help others, this writer has been touched by the high level of caring this story imparts upon us all.
I’ll let you read for yourselves what Skid Robot says about his work and why it’s important, not only to him, but all of us, no matter where we may be in life.
Q : How did you come up with the idea of doing what you did?
Originally the idea was suggested by my girlfriend as we were stopped at a red light in the Skid Row area.
One night we had been out on a date and ended up driving around catching spots (doing graffiti) around DTLA
I kept expressing to my girlfriend how I wanted to do something different other than hit my name up or my crews. After cruising around for a bit we came to a red light and she brilliantly said to paint that person (homeless) sleeping on the street dreaming of money.
I loved the idea, parked the car, grabbed a can and brought the idea to life.
After leaving the scene I turned the corner and saw a tent in front of a pull down grill. I thought to myself that tents belong in the forest! not on city streets. I jumped out and painted what would be the first dream scape. After that my imagination took flight and I spent many more nights out on the streets of Skid Row painting thought bubbles and dreamscapes.
Q : What motivates your art?
My art is motivated by this unsettling feeling that humanity is slipping into darkness by allowing violence to be the rule of law. America has involved itself in over a decade of war in the middle east which has greatly troubled the livelihood of the people on both sides of the conflict.
Here in the states the economy is decimated with very little hope of bouncing back. Hyper inflation has led to extreme poverty and homelessness for many americans. Families are living on the street and starving because minimum wage isnt enough to pay rent AND buy groceries.
Meanwhile over seas 100’s of thousands of innocent people have been
killed or made refugees, this should be an outrage! Anyone with a good conscious should want to put to an end to all this madness, much like those who came together to put an end to the Vietnam war.
This was the love of humanity in action, and the power of the people united as one can never be defeated. No one wants war, only those who benefit from it do.
These people who profit from war and death have sold us on the idea that the people are powerless, that we should hate and despise those that are different than us, and that war is the only answer to our global conflicts.
Somewhere along the way the American people began to lose their connection with their social conscious, their compassion and their humanity. If we don’t show compassion for those in our own neighborhoods, how can we possibly show it for other people in foreign lands.
Humanity has reached a critical cross road, we are dangerously on the verge of WW3. Either we will plunge into a new dark age or we will save whats left of our humanity and find a peaceful resolution. History has proven that civilizations flourish when peace and tolerance reign supreme. This is the world I am fighting for.
I’m motivated to do this art to reawaken those in my city and also to reach out to humanity as a whole with hopes of finding our way back to a world of reason and a new golden age.
Q : Have you ever been homeless yourself?
I have been “in between” places before, luckily I’ve always had someone to offer me shelter when needed. There have been times that I lived out of my car off and on but that’s about it.
Q : What’s next for you?
Whats next is preparing for the west coast tour of the campaign.
The team is working steady to make this documentary happen and take the campaign on the road nationally with goals to go international.
We would like to establish a network of various non profits and social groups that are working towards finding solutions to extreme poverty and other social issues we face not only as a country but as entire human race.
Q : What impact do you think your idea has had on the community at large?
Most people enjoy the art, they think its humorous.
However at the same time people feel sympathy for the person that I paint around. If I can change one persons heart to be more compassionate towards those in need then that is impact enough. The art reminds people to be grateful for what they have and humble themselves. I feel the impact has been very positive and is getting people to reflect upon who they are as a human being.
Q : Do you think that attitudes towards the homeless have changed in recent years?
Its hard to say, it certainly hasn’t changed for those in public office.
Other wise there would be more action taking place.
Over all, in Los Angeles most people seem not to be concerned with the homeless, however they’re are plenty of people who participate in helping their communities the best they can. I would hope the art would inspire people to be more involved locally in doing acts of kindness and charity.
So that’s the interview and resulting answers to my questions.
I’ll say one more thing.
If we are to make a real difference then it is in raising awareness of people’s situations and their pain.
Only we can have a positive impact and it really is up to us how we go about our day.
Be kind to others, for one day it could be any one of us who wake up to find a dreamscape painted above our heads.
You can find out more about this wonderful idea and how to help by going to http://www.gofundme.com/skidrobot