As the number of homeless people living in Los Angeles continues to climb and encampments pop up all over the city (until they are swept up by police), a street artist who goes by the moniker Skid Robot is trying to make the problem even more difficult to ignore. The anonymous artist is the subject of a new video from Fuse that highlights his politically charged work.
Skid Robot paints imaginative backdrops on the walls and tarps behind homeless encampments throughout the city. Often these are domestic scenes, turning street corners and patches of sidewalk under a bridge into whimsical images of home. He's painted furniture and Christmas trees and pleasant mountain landscapes. In recent works, he's created a pleasant tropical scene (complete with a hammock), and even constructed a small house. "The goal is to continue to paint this art; to raise more awareness; to create the dialog to find a solution to the problem of extreme poverty," he says in the video.
All this apparently started when the artist's girlfriend suggested he paint a thought bubble above a woman sleeping on the sidewalk, making it appear she was dreaming of money. It was a spontaneous piece that, frankly, seems a little rude, but it's led Skid Robot to use his art as a form of advocacy. Though he's well aware that his work is illegal, he believes it is justified by the severity of the problem he is criticizing. "That is the paradox of what I do," he says. "It is a crime addressing a bigger crime. And if we have no rebels, no fighters for justice and humanity then everything surely will be lost."
Whether you're inclined to think of Skid Robot as a rebel for humanity or a good old fashioned public nuisance, the video is worth watching for a glimpse into the creative process of one of the city's most intriguing street artists.