This is an extraordinary and original movie! It shows the creative powers of various “Skid Row” artists that are homeless, living in Los Angeles. Their work is impressive. Lillian Abel Calamari, the Founder and Director of Skid Row Art Workshop, shares insights into the lives of the artists and how they are self-taught. We also learn that the workshop was created so that artists could meet other artists and create their art.
We learn that the artists range from average to great ability. We meet several of them in this wonderful DVD including Manuel Compito, formerly in prison for armed robbery for five a half years. He shares that he watched a lot of artists in prison and learned various techniques. He loves painting the Lakers’ basketball players but Calamari constantly encourages him to study the masters and not just paint celebrities. We meet Barbara Aduwa, a former Metro bus driver that was injured, lost her income, and came to Skid Row and began to paint. Angry at first, she now makes the most of her situation. “It is a therapy for people,” she says in the documentary.
An artist named Magdulena says coming to the workshop helps her feel as if she belongs. One man states that some believe all homeless people have brought their situations on themselves but in certain cases catastrophes took place and people were left down and out. Some of them now work and sell their paintings, hoping for a brighter future. In an interesting scene one artist is shown painting scenery based on his happy childhood including a farm that he grew up in. He holds on to hope filled memories. “It is an outlet” states one man. Another says he keeps the golden rule in mind while working and dealing with others. Another nice scene in the documentary features several artists going on a field trip to an art museum.
Lillian’s husband, Leonard Kelly-Young, an actor, states, “We love what we’re doing.” It certainly shows in these artists and in Lillian and Leonard. “Humble Beauty: Skid Row Artists” has earned five Doves from us and our Dove Seal for ages twelve plus. It is a great watch.