J W Johnston • Photography


5 -18


Last year Francisco began painting over graffiti that appeared on walls in the neighborhood. He soon began repainting these walls with different colors. He used up the paint in our basement and gathered many more cans of old paint from neighbors. He never cleaned his brushes so they became like the bushes in tar pots. His lack of sharp lines made his brush strokes impressionistic.


He offered to cover the graffiti on the wall of a local market. They did not supervise him. The result [below] was a life-size black skunk/crow creature. I was impressed with the energy of the animal. The owner hated it and repainted the wall same color steel grey it was before.


Encouraging him to paint on his own, I provided Francisco with some pre-stretched canvases and about fifty tubes of oil paint that I had not used. He immediately took to painting, easily finishing between three and five canvases daily. Painting keeps him occupied, and he is less tempted to hang out in the park where he would drink and use drugs. His painting is spontaneous and he never seems to be troubled about what to paint. When he paints is one of the few times he does not seem bothered by the meth induced voices.