Maureen May

What are You Looking for? (2008)
mixed media
14 x 18 x 9 in.

“What are You Looking For?” was created in response to an encounter I had years ago with a homeless man. I was in a coffee shop and began sketching him, as he sorted through a tall stack of papers from his duffel bag. While drawing, I couldn’t help but think of the contrasts between us. My husband and I had struggled over the prior two years looking for a larger house, one that provided extra space for art studios and our possessions. This man, on the other hand, held much of what was important in his life in a single duffel bag. He suddenly started shoving his papers back into his bag and headed for the door. As he passed me, I asked him if he found what he was looking for. He gruffly replied “What are YOU looking for?” and headed outside. Odd response, I thought, but it certainly got me thinking. I wondered where he would sleep tonight. At the homeless shelter? Up Horse Gulch in a tent? Under one of the bridges along the river? I wondered about his simple, yet precarious life, and then realized that I DIDN’T know what I was looking for.

artist’s website

© Maureen May