Last night between shifts at work, I had a few hours to kill. I was walking down London Piccadilly and passed a homeless man called Jason. Rather than asking for change, Jason was trying to sell some pictures he had drawn of famous London landmarks. I had some time to spare so I bought him a coffee and asked him about his artwork. What I thought would be a quick 5 minute chat turned out to be an hour long discussion about much more than just his drawings.
I don't want to get too personal and talk about his backstory, that's not what this post is for. The reasoning for him living on the streets isn't my place to talk about. What got me about Jason though was his attitude towards his situation. Even though he kept all of his belongings in a paper bag and was at the lowest point of his life, he explained to me that he started drawing because he could transfer his emotions in a way that brought some joy into his life, and a few coins to keep him going! Being a musician, the concept of self expression through art obviously resonated with me. We went on to talk about how even when life gets hard, and REALLY hard in his case, we should always try and remain positive and remember that things can always get better. If I'm honest, it took me a little bit by surprise at how hopeful he was considering his living conditions. I can personally think back to numerous occasions when I've felt like giving up on a project over the smallest hiccup. So for this dude to be sitting outside a Tesco in the pouring rain and motivating me to keep working on whatever my dreams are was the last thing I expected when I asked him if he wanted a cup of coffee.
Back to his artwork! I got him a load of new stationary today and convinced him to let me set up a little stall on a weekend to display and hopefully sell some of his drawings. I've set up this CrownFunder page to hopefully fund everything we need to help this guy out a bit. A small foldable table, some frames etc. It's only a small budget of £100 but the more we can raise the better. Whatever is left will be donated to Crisis, a charity that last year helped 10,000 people on their journey out of homelessness.