Art From the Streets celebrates 30 years in Austin

AUSTIN (KXAN) – It’s not every day that people meet the artist behind their artwork. But on Sunday, the citizens of Austin had the opportunity to do just that on Art of the Streets (AFTS) Display and Sale.

The group provides items and tutorials to people experiencing homelessness, as well as a platform to sell their work. They’ve been doing it for 30 years.

One of the showcase artists was Damien Todd.

“I would drive around, paint in my truck, live out of my vehicle … drive it day in and day out,” Todd said.

Damien Todd stares at a piece of art he has created
Damien Todd said he has been interested in art since he was 6 years old.

He said his difficult childhood got him into some trouble. He ended up in jail in Austin.

“I started from scratch here in Austin. I mean stay… live on the steps of the ARCH,” Todd said.

It was during this period of his life that he became acquainted with AFTS. With their help, he was able to feed his passion and make a living.

“It seems magical because it’s like something you’ve dreamed of doing and you’re making money from it,” Todd said.

Artist Tom Jett said it completely changed his life.

“I’m doing pretty well. People seem to like it because I sold 31 paintings at this show last year,” Jett said.

Without him, Jett said he doesn’t think he would be alive.

Tom Jett holds up a piece of art he has created
Tom Jett said it was rewarding to see how much people enjoyed his paintings.

“It made me feel better about myself and change things about myself that were no longer there doing bad things,” Jett said.

Both Jett and Todd said this opportunity leaves them hopeful for their future and the many other works of art they will create.

“As long as I’m getting 1 percent better every day moving forward, I’m fine with it,” Todd said.

The next AFTS show will be on the Austin Studio Tour. Organizers said 95 percent of the sale goes to the artist and the remaining 5 percent goes to the organization to help pay for supplies.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *