Humble Beauty: Skid Row Artists

‘People will create art no matter how humble the circumstances and, in return, art changes lives dramatically.  All human beings are artists.

Whether trained in the academy or a self-taught outsider, the evidence is overwhelming that making art is part of the nature of human beings.  To document how art calms, inspires, asks questions or provides answers — even whole new identities – are some of our objectives in producing HUMBLE BEAUTY.’

Humble Beauty: Skid Row Artists is a documentary highlighting the lives and work of many artists from Skid Row, Los Angeles. The film is trying to reach its fundraising target by 15th September 2012. Below is a synopsis of the documentary, which I have taken from the website:

“An hour documentary that tells the stories of a group of talented homeless and formerly homeless men and women who create art — fine arts painting — in the worst area of LA known as Skid Row.  It’s also about the ubiquity of art in human life.  People strive to make art, no matter how humble the circumstances.

For four years, we have followed the lives and progress of several artists from LA’s Skid Row, reported to be the largest concentration of homeless people in America.  We use several techniques to tell the stories including cinema verite, interviews and narration.  Spontaneous moments from their lives, intimate interviews and their evolving artwork and life’s progress are documented.  We meet oil, acrylic and watercolor painters, charcoal, pen and crayon sketchers and collage makers.  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 and remarkable artist/social workers and are given paint, canvases, frames, easels and the technical, creative and supportive guidance to create stunning, often therapeutic, works of art.  Several of these Art Workshop members have shown – and sold – their work in downtown Los Angeles galleries.  Their tight-knit Skid Row community nourishes their artistic abilities.

Art changed their lives dramatically.  One woman told us 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 illegal 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.  Art has given their lives meaning and a reason for existence.  There are many stories among the artists of LA’s Skid Row and unimagined talent to bring to the attention of a wide audience.

We have a non-profit fiscal sponsor, Pharmaka Gallery in downtown Los Angeles, to accept donations on our behalf to finish and market the film.”

Piece by Enrique Marquez

Work by Vytautas Pliura

Piece by Joacquin Roebuck

Visit the Humble Beauty website:

for more information

Good luck and I hope you reach your target!

To help the campaign please visit:


2 thoughts on “Humble Beauty: Skid Row Artists

  1. Judith Vogelsang says:

    Thank you so much for your great enthusiasm for and coverage of HUMBLE BEAUTY and our crowdfunding campaign. Small, individual donations are the heart of our campaign and it’s easy to contribute via PayPal. Art changes lives is the main theme of the film and we hope your readers will help bring this empowering story to millions of viewers across America. We also have a digital distribution opportunity in the UK, so you’ll be seeing HUMBLE BEAUTY there too, with a little help from friends! Many, many thanks. Here’s the link to the campaign:

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