The, 'Homeless' Project/Installation, was part of an exhibition housed at Islais Creek Studios, San Francisco in 2017. It was - and still is - my response to the alarming increase and plight of the homeless in San Francisco and the Bay Area.
For every new housing complex that is being built in San Francisco, there is a new homeless encampment being built at the same time. For every person who opens the door with their shiny new keys to an even shiner new apartment, there is someone on the streets for the first time struggling to put up their ‘Home' ‘(tent — if they are lucky!). For every person wrapped up safe in their bed at night warm, cozy, safe, there is someone who is cold and vulnerable wrapped in a sleeping bag and newspaper. For every person that wakes in the morning to the smell of fresh coffee and breakfast, there is someone who is trying to sleep after a night of fear kept them awake and the foul smells of piss and pollution. For every person who took a warm shower refreshed ready for the day ahead, there is a person who has not bathed for a week who dreads the day ahead.
For every person starting their day of work, rushing to get on the bus and Bart, there is someone who is pensively writing there first sign of the week: attentive and diligent, writing every letter like their life depended on it. For every person who’s spent their day busy working hard, rushing between lunch and coffee breaks ,there is someone sat passively waiting for someone to drop a few dollars into a dirty can. For every person that is happy that the work day is over so they can socialize and chill out with their friends, there is someone who is facing the night with dread, fear and loneliness. For every person that stumbles home in the early hours glued to their phone and trips over a homeless person on the street, there is someone who thinks for once they would like to be acknowledge.
There is no judgement on my part just a need to help and make people aware that there is a divide here. Not just a rich and poor divide but a physiological divide between the visible and invisible. I was asked by someone, if the situation here is no or any different from Dickens London back in the day. I was unable to answer the question. But the fact that it was asked, alarms and horrifies me that this could happen here in San Francisco, a city that is renowned for its liberalism and compassion.
Update to 2018 - There is now a homeless encampment right next to my studio at Islais Creek Studios. Is it a case of art imitating life or life imitating art ? Whatever way you look, the irony of the situation is very sad and will not got away. I may not know the answers to the questions regarding the plight of the homeless, and maybe is this current climate, there isn’t one, but that will not stop me from still asking the question: Why?