For over four years, filmmakers Letitia Schwartz and Judith Vogelsang followed the lives and progress of several artists from LA's Skid Row, reported to be the largest concentration of homeless people in America. The result is a one-hour documentary, HUMBLE BEAUTY: Skid Row Artists.
The film includes spontaneous moments plus intimate interviews with oil, acrylic and watercolor painters, charcoal, pen & crayon sketchers, collage makers and paper mache sculptors. Some artists find their art supplies in garbage cans and dumpsters. They draw on old paper bags. Many have joined art workshops led by dedicated artist-social workers and are given paint, canvas, frames, easels and the technical, creative and supportive guidance to create remarkable, often therapeutic, works of art. Many of these art workshop members have shown, and sold, their work in downtown LA galleries.
Art changed their lives dramatically. One woman says that coming to the workshop is the only reason she has for getting up in the morning. A directionless hustler has become a known, respected painter and employed community leader. A shy immigrant who creates, in classic primitive style, riotously colorful scenes from his childhood in a tiny Mexican village has suffered a major setback -- he's been admitted to art school at University of California, Berkeley, and awarded a scholarship but can't attend due to his immigration status. One artist was a 12-year-old runaway from an Indian Reservation in 1941 and has been on the streets of Skid Row ever since. There are many stories among the artists of LA's Skid Row and unimagined talent to bring to the attention of a worldwide audience. Video clip highlights are available at http://www.humblebeauty.com/video.html
and at youtube.com/humbleproductions.
LA. Indymedia will be screening this film in the upcoming months.