Artists from the Fringe: Luke's Story

In this series, we share stories from Art Jam participants. Art Jam - a volunteer-run program of the Salt Spring Arts Council - provides a safe, welcoming space for members of our marginalized community, where they can be defined as creators and artists, rather than by the challenges they regularly face. By celebrating their unique creative accomplishments and reinforcing the value of their work through public exhibitions we promote positive self-identities and help build self-esteem.

I’m Luke Thorpe and I’m 26 years old. I have lived on Salt Spring Island for almost 3 years now. I came here to visit a friend who unfortunately passed away. I came for a week and then just stayed. Right now I am homeless, mainly camping. There is a shelter to go to in the winter, but this year I hope to find a place to sleep outside where I can just stay. There is a bunch of us where I am camping right now. We usually pool our money together and buy food. We have a really nice cooking set-up; a propane stove and propane fire pit. I have done some dumpster diving for food. I work doing landscaping or labour work, whatever kind of work I can find. The money I make gives me enough to survive.

The biggest difficulty about living on Salt Spring is the housing. The other thing is that there are lots of people who are prejudice against the homeless, which doesn’t help us. Renting is expensive. Even a trailer might cost seven or eight hundred a month, not including power.

I heard about Art Jam through word of mouth. It’s a place where a lot of us can come together once a week and catch up with each other. It’s like a community. I like making art. It calms me down, puts me in a nice meditative state where I can stay calm and not think about things. I don’t know where my inspiration for my art comes from. I don’t know how to explain it. I throw some stuff on a canvas and see what it looks like and go from there. I hope my art takes me somewhere. I would like to eventually have my own show. I definitely have enough art for that.

Learn more about Art Jam and Artists from the Fringe.

October 7, 2019 10:24 AM

  • Avatar silks says:

    Luke you have a fine story. Keep up the art - you have some neat pieces. I am a self taught artist and I ended up making my living for the past 35 years with my art. I like what you say when you state that many folks are against 'homeless' folks. No one should feel this way. Every human has merit. You are searching and will find a good path. I love this Art Jam and wish I could come and work with you there. I live in Calgary but come to SS every year. Its like a second home to me - a place i love dearly. Keep up your wonderful art and keep the faith. There is so much that is good on your island.
    love to you. Norene