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.