AUSTIN (KXAN) – It’s not every day people get to meet the artist behind their piece of work. But Sunday, Austinites had the opportunity to do just that at the Art From the Streets (AFTS) Show and Sale.
The group provides art supplies and classes to people experiencing homelessness, as well as a platform to sell their work. They’ve been doing that for 30 years.
One of the artists at the showcase was Damion Todd.
“I would be driving around, painting in my truck, living out of my vehicle… taking it day by day,” Todd said.
He said his difficult childhood led him to some trouble. He ended up incarcerated in Austin.
“I started with zero here in Austin. I mean staying… living on the steps of the ARCH,” Todd said.
Through that period of his life, he was introduced to AFTS. With their help, he was able to fuel his passion and make a living.
“It seems magical because it’s like something you dreamed of doing and you’re making money from it,” Todd said.
Artist Tom Jett said it has completely changed his life.
“I’ve been doing pretty good. People seem to like it, because last year at this show, I sold 31 paintings,” Jett said.
Without it, Jett said he doesn’t think he’d be alive.
“It made me feel better about myself and change things within me that are not out there and doing bad things anymore,” Jett said.
Both Jett and Todd said this opportunity leaves them hopeful for their futures and the many more art pieces they’ll create.
“As long as I’m getting 1% better each day progressing, I’m good with that,” Todd said.
AFTS’ next show will be at the Austin Studio Tour. Organizers said 95% of a sale goes to the artist and the other 5% goes to the organization to help pay for supplies.