You Call that Art?? (Chris and Gary)
I am writing this as the cold alert has been put in place by the City of Toronto. I am hoping these two zany characters are warm and safe right now. They both reminded me of Laurel and Hardy of the Toronto’s Financial District. Neither deserve to be cold tonight.
I met Gary earlier in the day at King and Church streets, we exchanged hello’s and he expressed great distress over the fact that he was unable to get his usual piles of Outreach Newspapers that he would sell in hopes to make money at the corner of Queen and Yonge St. which is one of our major subway hubs. While we were talking, a young guy came into the picture, his name was Chris. Gary is an outlandish personality with an amazing sense of humour, Chris is a strong silent watcher of his surroundings and also very protective of Gary.
Chris is a young guy, good looking and deserves to be at a restaurant or club with a very beautiful woman on his arms. Instead he is one of many stories that has made its way to the streets. Gary is just a fun loving guy who just doesn’t take things too seriously and tries to find some humour in things. I really admire both of them for the strengths. The two zany guys would be a central part of my whole day as I would keep running into them throughout my time on the streets.
Chris was a little apprehensive in the beginning, I made the mistake of saying that I am usually known as an artistic photographer creating fine art images while I was training my camera on Gary to capture a portrait. Chris started chuckling and laughing really hard, blurting out “You call that fucking art?” in which Gary retorted ” Yeah, I am, I am gonna be famous. I am a celebrity now go back to your blanket.” This would become the theme every time I would run into them.
Chris’ shyness prevented me from being able to capture an up close portrait. However he seemed appreciative of my sincerity. I offered to get him a coffee as it was cold and windy where he was, he shyly and humbly asked for a hot chocolate instead. I am not rich, I am not affluent nor do I have the power to change this kids life. If I could, I would get him off the streets in a heart beat. He doesn’t deserve this at all. Yet he quietly moves about not asking for anything and gracious of anyone who offers assistance to him.
Gary on the other hand is the opposite, he has such an entertaining personality. He loved that I captured his photograph or that I wanted to capture him at all. Every time we would meet up, he would ask how his fame was coming along. To give you an idea of how lighthearted Gary is, when I squatted to the ground to talk to him or when I was capturing an image of him. He would call out to those passing by to give donations because I needed help in making him famous and couldn’t afford my camera’s or even better yet that I was a starving artist in need of help more than him. The funny thing about this, he almost convinced a few people to throw money in support of me. I watched a few reaching into their pockets and I couldn’t help but laugh as this guy was blatantly mocking me in jest and almost got away with it.
Gary and Chris became my grounding point throughout the day, adding humour and a sense of fun to their reality, also making me feel welcomed, appreciated and just gave me a hell of a good laugh. To those who almost donated to my cause. I appreciate it, but it was Gary’s fault not mine. He was just my artistic muse and hopefully I can make him famous. So, to my readers especially those in Toronto, if you happen to pass Queen and Yonge St. at the Queen St. subway station and see a guy selling Outreach Newspapers. Please ask Gary for an autograph! Also tell him he is a beautiful piece of art too! It’ll give him some ammunition to go back at Chris with a story.
Gary is wearing the striped pants and Chris is in the black toque and cargo pants.
They went everywhere together.