Portrait of an artist without a canvas
On College between Bathurst and Spadina, Saturday, November 9, 2002
I moved here in the 70s to go to school, the Ontario College of Art. And then I got sick. I've been in and out of the hospital -- the Clark -- for 25 years. My sister is out west and my brother lives in Midland. I don't see them any more. My parents live close to Wasaga Beach. Sometimes they invite me up on my birthday or at Christmas. I've gotten used to this area. I know people around here. Right now I have a place, but I don't feel safe there. I use the bus shelter to keep out of the wind when it's cold -- dry pavement is better than wet pavement. I look forward to having a cigarette and coffee inside when it's cold. I've done jobs -- car washes, washing dishes, pumping gas. It's hard to get a job these days, though. There aren't even dishwashing jobs. It's not like I'm bumming money for nothing. I earn it with my artwork. Most people are nice -- they give me on average $10 for my work, sometimes $20. Other people go by and jingle their change in their pocket. It's like going into a trance when I work sometimes. I have a syringe with paint, and I spray it. I don't think anybody else is doing anything like this. I'd be working on my art -- sculpting, soapstone, acrylics, pastels -- but I don't have any materials right now to work with. They're expensive, art materials. A good box of soapstone is $80. A lot of people steal my belongings. Twice this year already people have stolen my carving tools. I keep my belongings near me but, sometimes, you know, when you're tired you fall asleep. When I get my new place I'll get more art materials and I'll go back to work. I'm not too social. I don't go out and drink. I don't take drugs any more. It was either that or go down the tubes, you know. I'm trying to save for some winter boots.
Interview by Dale Duncan
"I'm not too social. I don't go out and drink. I don't take drugs any more. It was either that or go down the tubes, you know. I'm trying to save for some winter boots."