Street Artist Paints Graffiti Christmas Trees To Help LA's Homeless
Have yourself a merry graffitied Christmas, courtesy of street artist Skid Robot. He says he's "planting" spray-painted Christmas trees around homeless camps for two reasons: to draw attention to homelessness and raise money to provide gift bags for those on the streets.
Skid Robot started putting the trees up two weeks ago, and plans to do so through Christmas Eve.
They're promoting their gift bag efforts with the hashtag "#SantaCause," and say their goal of supplying everything from blankets to pet food. Those who wish to donate can do so here (though we can't independently verify how the funds will be used). The deadline for gift bag donations is noon today (Christmas Eve).
"So many of us in the city could simply step over homeless people, or drive by them every day, and care enough, but not care enough to actually solve it," Skid Robot told us.
The campaign is part of a collaboration with a group calling itself "the Anonymous Arts Collective," which plans to produce more projects with other artists to give to the homeless. The members of the group asked to remain anonymous because unauthorized graffiti art is illegal.
"Santa Cause," aka members of the anonymous group, expect to deliver gift bags on Christmas Eve under the painted trees. When we spoke with them, they were working on being able to offer other opportunities for the homeless, including warm food and haircuts.
"A lot of people around the holidays also feel helpless and overwhelmed," one member of the collective told us. "They don't really know what they can do to help, and they don't see proactive options to do that."
They also plan to paint more trees on Christmas Eve in Venice, the Silver Lake/Echo Park area, and downtown L.A. Venice will be the final stop, where they expect to host live music for local homeless residents.
Homelessness is an issue core to Skid Robot's efforts — a previous Skid Robot project included painting dream bubbles behind sleeping or passed-out homeless people, filled with what he imagined were their dreams. The images ranged from a bed to a stack of pancakes.
"Getting people in touch with being compassionate and having empathy is a mentality and a spirit that we need to cultivate more in our city, and around the world," Skid Robot said.
His work isn't without controversy, with some questioning whether making homeless people the subject of his art is exploitatative. Skid Robot himself has given that question some thought. But he's trying to go beyond just making them part of his art and into giving back.
The anonymous collective includes people with backgrounds in writing, directing, advertising, and other creative fields. They said they want to use those talents to raise more awareness around homelessness.
The collective declined to say more specifically where the gift bags would be given, but some homeless people around L.A. can expect to receive them Monday night.
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