Took a walk the other day. Searching for seeds of optimism. Not surprisingly, I found some within a few blocks. Tucked away in artwork displayed on the curb.
Found these outside a house. Maybe this was a summer project. Maybe a summer parent, a month into summer, trying to keep her kids away from the screen. But it was a nice little display. A sign that the kids are watching. The kids are hopeful. They’re making plans.
Then I found another artist.
This is Malvin. He makes art. And he’s made art since he was 9 after he saw a Vincent Van Gogh exhibit. His family couldn’t afford to get him any oil paints, but he had a job sweeping out a general store for a holocaust survivor. That Christmas he found a box of paints under the tree. Without any training, he’s been painting ever since.
He was planning on going to college, but got called away to Vietnam at age 18. He didn’t think he was going see 19. Three days after he returned his dad was killed in car accident. So it was up to he and his brothers to care for his mother.
He met a caucasian woman and fell in love. They were disowned by parts of both sides of their families, but got married anyway. He planted a tree in the front yard of his house and has stayed there for 40 years.
After 29 years with a local bank, his job was outsourced to India. He retired 2 months ago.
“You know, I could probably be angry about a lot, but with guidance from friends and God, I’ve mellowed out. People ask me if I’m religious and I tell them, ‘Well, I believe there’s something guiding us. I’ve spoken to the angels and I think that God and I are pretty close. None of us own anything thing in life. We’re just renting this space. So, I watch my grandkids, I tend my garden and I sit on my porch and I paint what comes out of my head. I got a whole basement full of stuff. I think the best way to sell it is just put it out in the yard and see what sells. I’ve met the most interesting people just walking by!”
Also, he’s sumo wrestling fan. “It’s the championship today! I’m gonna knock off early and catch it on NHK TV!”
You can find more of his art on the corner of Indianola and Milford in Columbus, Ohio or at…