Updated: Jan 11, 2021
In 2005 I was walking down Bryant Park on my way to the Mid-Manhattan Library to continue my art self-education. Always with my camera in hand, a homeless man approached me before I even saw him and said -Give me five bucks, I'll let you take my picture. Back then I was always really scared of taking people's photos and when it came to the homeless I felt that if the photos went anywhere, I'd be taking advantage. I declined and still gave him a few dollars. The then got in this pose and said -A deal's a deal. Take the photo! I never forgot him. Years later in 2014, when I was forced to work from the same library after losing my home studio,it became clear to me that most of the people at the library were homeless. I promised myself that when I got my studio I would find the way to honor them and bring awareness in some way through my art. And I painted "The Champ" which eventually debuted in "The 5th Bronx Latin American Art Biennial" and was featured in the Artforum Magazine event page.