Homeless Man Panhandled For Art Supplies, Now His Paintings Are Selling Out
News| | By Jason Owen
His sign read, “Just Need A Little Help,” and thanks to the kindness of a few strangers and his own ingenuity, one homeless man is beginning to turn his life around.
Jon Masters recently found himself on the streets of Pensacola, Florida. With all his worldly possessions at the bottom of the ocean (literally), penniless, and a service dog to look after, Masters needed a helping hand. He turned to panhandling.
“I was trying to get some money for some paint supplies,’’ Masters told USA Today, sitting on the side of the road near the Chick-fil-A on Navy Boulevard. “My sign said ‘Just Need a Help’ and it was the truth.”
It took three days, but Masters finally had the $40 he needed. He bought some paints and some canvasses, then Masters and his service dog Sheba went to sit beneath a tree. He started to paint.
And before too long, his paintings were in high demand.
“I sold three on Saturday and one [Sunday],” he said. “I’m selling them cheap and I’m selling them as fast as I can paint them.”
At $25-40 per painting, Masters’ works have quickly helped him get things back together after his life took a sudden dramatic turn.
It was just weeks ago that Masters sailed from New Orleans down to Florida, but then found himself in jail for “trespassing” in a public area because Sheba wasn’t wearing a proper service dog vest. While in jail, Masters boat sank and with it, everything he had. The sailboat had been his home.
But even before the arrest things were not great. Masters suffers from seizures, which Sheba helps detect and recognize when they are oncoming. He said he has anxiety issues, and “some mental stuff like the rest of us,” and shoulder problems. Due to this, he hasn’t had a “job job” in five years. So, he started painting.
“I’m just trying to get some money together,” he said. “I’m not trying to be the homeless guy with all the problems. I have a little talent for painting, and that’s what I’m trying to do to make it by.”
That talent – with the help of a few YouTube tutorial videos – has now helped Masters find a steady stream of income as well as a new purpose in life.
Masters now sells his artwork at a farmer’s market and even helps organize a weekly barbecue that brings other area homeless artists together, reported the Huffington Post.
“I’ve got other homeless guys coming up to me to check out what’s going on,” Masters told the Pensacola News Journal. “They’re hearing about my story from other homeless people…”
Masters attitude toward his stroke of bad luck not only inspires others who share a similar predicament, but can help inspire anybody who feels a little down on their luck.
“I’m a firm believer that nothing bad ever happens, even though it really looks like crap. Just not enough time has gone by to see what the good is going to be.”
There’s always a light at the end of the tunnel.
To see more of Masters work, check out his Facebook page.