So, I have one more story from this project I want to express. I've talked to many homeless people throughout this process, and one in particular touched me deeply. Early on, he came up to talk and was referencing other murals throughout Santa Monica, and then said, "and now we have this one!" His use of the word "we" really struck me and made me feel glad. Glad that the homeless feel a sense of ownership of the public murals. That they are "theirs" in some respect. Honestly, I cannot think of a worthier audience to create for.
Today, I saw him again and as I'm almost finished, I was joking with him that I hope someone doesn't come up and tag it once it's completed. He looked at me and said, "Oh no, that won't happen! We watch this wall all the time and anyone getting too close, we shoe them away. And you know that mural down on Ocean Park? Well, that one has a guard." And I said, "A guard?" He replied, "Someone sleeps in front of that mural every night to make sure no one comes up and graffitis it."
This made me smile and again, just touched me so deeply. It's humbling and can't help but stir your faith in humanity.