So I’m walking down Milwaukee Avenue late at night and this guy stops me. “Excuse me, darling. Do you like Ghetto Art?” He’s wearing a newsboy cap, a suit jacket, and a rosary. (I’ll later learn that he goes by Sir Gerald, and he hails from Las Vegas, and he’s here with his mom. She’s standing a few feet away with a flower in her hair, and later she’ll tell me I’m “too cute” and ask me if I’m Korean. Nope.) “Yes!” I answer enthusiastically (because that’s the only way you should answer a question like that). He shuffles through a stack of illustrations he’s made. The first one is allegedly a drawing of Beyoncé, captioned with “Bootylicious,” except bootylicious is, like, totally spelled wrong (there’s definitely at least one extra “s” in there). “You can make a donation of any amount,” he begins, but I cut him off and go, “Actually, how about we trade? I’ll give you my art for your art.” He hesitates at first, but I hand him a piece of a large interactive project I’m starting and will continue for one year. He takes it, looks at it, and, although he was already amicable before, his demeanor changes. He’s beaming. He looks me in the eye and, smiling, says, “This… is powerful. Thank you.”
Art, guys. Art.