The Starving Artists sheds a new light on homeless signs and represents them as handmade pieces of artwork that convey a powerful human expression. The art project brings attention to these “artists” who are holding the signs and the messages they are sending.
The project was founded by Thompson Harrell and Nick Zafonte. It debuted this month at the Dumbo Arts Center in Brooklyn, New York. It showcases 35 handwritten signs, accompanied by portraits of the 30 artists who wrote them.
The portraits were photographed by Andrew Zuckerman, who is known for his hyper-realistic photos set against stark white background. Zuckerman has previously photographed renowned celebrities, creatives, and politicians, including Frank Gehry, Clint Eastwood, Desmond Tutu, and Herbie Hancock.
The Starving Artist website comments:
Every day the homeless reach out through the only means they have, scraps of cardboard and their own creativity. The problem is we don’t look, seeing their messages as an interruption to our day. Our mission is to redirect their artful cries for help from the streets to a forum where they can be properly appreciated, giving the homeless a more powerful voice, to bring about a more profound change.
Thousands of people in New York came to admire the artworks, and over $5,000 was raised for the good cause. Instead of walking away from the signs, visitors took the time to take in what’s really being said and acknowledge the person behind the sign.
The art project also includes an online interactive gallery to help spread the message across other states and raise money for the local charity: the New York City Coalition Against Hunger and Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen.
Watch the video below to learn more about the project.