1001 Black Men–#411

I’ve been thinking about the subjects I draw, with a particular focus on how I select the folks I choose to feature on this site. As I mentioned a couple of posts ago, I have been thinking a lot of the kinds of men and boys who have not been a part of this series and how that is a reflection of my own values and interests. And it’s about a lot more than the simple question of who I find interesting or beautiful to look at. The way that my first 400 drawings would skew if you plotted out the subjects would show that there are some demographics–some sub-groups within the larger community of men of African descent–who rarely make an appearance. One such population is homeless men. I would hate to think that I simply don’t see homeless men…or that I simply don’t register them. Still, when I sit down with my sketchbook and Pigma Micron pen (my pen of choice), it really is as if these my conversations with the homeless brothers I see never happened at all.

This drawing represents a first tentative effort into seeing differently and more broadly. While I am not sure that the man in this picture is homeless, I can certainly say that when he approached me for cash outside the small corner market at Coolidge and Brookdale, He seemed to be having a difficult time. I had no cash with me at the time, and so I had nothing to give, but I did greet him with what I hope was obvious sincerity. I didn’t just look at him; I really tried to see him, and I saw him all over again, in my head, as I drew this portrait.

Ajuan Mance

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