Art on the Walk

16 October, 2016

I won 1st place! Thank you Greg Adcock and Maggie Morgan for running the inaugural ‘Art on the walk’ competition @henrydeaneplaza. Thank you Marin The caretaker and Ala the security guard for looking after the artist for the past 5 days. All the work was unique and amazing which must have made it a tough decision for Susannah Smith to judge the awards. Thank you for choosing my work to take out first prize.





Lux Aeterna

16 April, 2015

Joint exhibition with Anton Pulvirenti at the Shh Centre 4 Hybrid Arts supported through Parramatta City Council and Pop Up Parramatta.


He Zhen Hao Portrait Demonstration

10 February, 2015

A live portrait demonstration that I produced in collaboration with Parramatta Artist Studios.


Kelvin has exhibited in extensively in Shanghai and Beijing and completed studies at the China Academy of Fine Arts and Shanghai Normal University where he is currently a lecturer.


A friend of Ken


Im sitting in a crowded city of busy people on strict deadlines that want to get from A to B and don’t have the time to deal with the bullshit in between.  I can’t say im surprised or that I can complain about the lackluster attitude of those walking by as I’m drawing a portrait of probably the most famous homeless person in Sydney, Ken.

Ken has the best location in the Sydney for the past 7 or 8 years, out the front of Myers in the city’s CBD.

Walking down the footpath towards us is a man waving a magazine wearing a fluorescent jacket. ‘Big issue guys’, so Kenny likes to call them.  From the exchange of words it was obvious tell that they didn’t like each other.

Later on, our next interaction is with another bloke who looked like he hasn’t had a shower or washed in days walked past and asked Kenny how much he owed him.  Maybe a friend of  Ken’s  after all.

‘How much do I owe you Kenny, gotta be at least more than $100’

‘Get lost will you mate’

‘You know why you’re homeless Kenny’ beginning to raise his voice ‘because you’re a fucking imbecile, a fucking imbecile!’

Afterwards Kenny explain’s the unwarranted abuse coming from that man.  ‘He continually steals from  me’.  Kenny cannot account for how much he owes him but he surely thinks it’s more than $100.

I suspect that after being in the paper and claiming to make up to $50,000 a year he’s developed some unhappy relationships with his fellow homeless counterparts.

A man comes up from behind me trying to sneak a photograph of my drawing while Kenny lets loose and brandish’s his anger at him.

‘Hang on don’t you take a photo of us! We are here to be helped not voyeur’d’ 

I turn around to see a photographer running off.  What a shame because I would have liked to have connected with that photographer.

The rain was pouring, I had made some chump change that I hope is of use to Ken.

Stacey & Belinda

IMG_2854[1]IMG_2856[1]StaceyI felt much more at ease with my part time project to draw people on the street this time around.  I had to forget the experience I had last time and realize that I’m just drawing people.  Whatever their story might be, whether they’re true to themselves and the people around them or not it’s just about being conscious, observant, and asking questions that open the doors to an interesting story.  Today’s drawing is of Stacey and her dog Barrett.  I could sense a deep connection by the way Stacey constantly watched and talked to her dog, seeing to his needs like food and water and scratching him where he needed to be scratched.  Drawing her left arm and moving down towards her hand I could see the bright highlight of a wedding ring.

‘Do you have a husband?’

 ’No, my partners a woman’

I apologized for making an silly assumption. Not long after wards Belinda arrived with a cup of coffee placing it in front of Stacey’s stretched out figure.  Another dog appeared from behind me wagging his tail and then getting in between me and my easel.

So this is your protection at night’ I said to both the ladies who looked quite content with what were only male figures in their lives.

As the drawing was coming to a finish I found myself asking a stream of questions.  I knew there was an interesting story waiting to be told.

What’s the hardest thing about being on the streets?’

Stacey & Belinda: ‘Not being able to have a shower.  We’re women and we like to keep clean, especially during that time of the month but there’s no services for women like there are for men’.

Is there Anything positives that have come from being on the streets?’

Stacey: ‘There are no good things…  The good thing is having my dogs. I could have gone to a refuge but I would have to give up my dogs to the pound’.

Have you tried giving your dogs to a friend that will take them in for you?’

Stacey: ‘I had Barrett since he was 6 months and now he’s 15 years old.  If we were separated he wouldn’t survive. He howls if ever we’re separated’.

Suddenly Belinda drifted out of the conversation, stepped up and ran off around the corner.

When and how did you and Belinda meet?’

 Stacey: ‘We met seven and a half years ago in gaol’

What was it about Bel that attracted you to her?

Stacey: ‘I don’t know.  She was shy, never spoke.  We began an 18 month relationship until I was let out.  Others told her I wouldn’t wait for her but 2 weeks later when Bel got out we were back together again’.

Belinda now with a cigarette in her mouth had come to join us again in the conversation.

‘Why are you homeless and how long have you been homeless for?’

Belinda: ‘We’ve been homeless for 3 months.  Housing commission were still charging Stacey rent even while she was taken into prison again for threatening to kill someone, and I couldn’t afford the rent’.

‘What were you in gaol for?’

Stacey: I’ve been in and out of gaol so many times I can’t remember the reason why for most of them. The last time was for threatening to kill someone.   

Belinda: I stabbed someone that was picking on my daughter.

That’s where I left it. We split the money we’d made, my portion went towards a falafel roll and the train ticket home.

I beg to Differ


I thought I had this genius idea to be charitable and make a little money at the same time.  The brilliant idea was to get a busking license and give homeless people a helping hand by drawing them and to splitting the donations 50/50.

I want to make a difference locally by drawing and painting a few homeless people closer to home in Parramatta.  I really get attached to people from the moment I speak to them on the street. I sympathize and want to do something immediately to help alleviate their problem.  Some have been welcoming and open to talk about themselves and the reason they are without a home.  However as soon as I mentioned my ‘brilliant idea’ I felt some apprehension.  My homeless friend Mark from Parramatta said to me ‘don’t assume people need your help’.  I was somewhat thrown by the response, I mean, I’m doing a good service right? I went ahead and asked him why wouldn’t anyone want my help as they’re already asking for money from people much like me, What I’m doing would certainly help with donations right?  Mark went ahead and told me about 3 different types of homeless people.

1. The man that was so reliant on his job or partner for so many years that once an uncontrollable change like his job becoming obsolete or divorce occurred he’d be forced into homelessness. “This man is inconsolable” so Mark says.

2. Addicts who are either on drugs, alcohol or have gambling problems. “Do you want to support that?” Mark asks.

3. People that live in caves and are quite happy to be on their own and don’t need nor want anyone’s help. I got the impression that this is the type of homeless person Mark was.

So according to Mark that there are different kinds of homeless people, some that don’t want my help and some that I may be helping towards funding their next fix. I was slightly dejected but still I couldn’t take the word of just one man, so I traveled to the city in search for some honest person that was truly down on their luck.  When I went to the city I received a completely different response.  I found the homeless people to be much more approachable and friendly and more encouraging of my idea to draw and paint them.

After meeting a few homeless people I decided the first person I wanted to draw was Brian.  Brian is a homeless person who begs for money but also provides a service to shine people’s shoes!

‘People don’t want their shoes shined’

 ‘They’re too embarrassed to have their shoes shined on the street’

As I was sitting there listening to his story I couldn’t help but be totally convinced and saddened by his situation.  From him not having enough money to pay for bond to an apartment to having a heart attack a few months back.

The next day I came back with my drawing equipment to get started.  It’s never easy drawing from life in as busy setting as Pitt st Mall is, I felt like a stranger in my own city busking on the street as I was.

Some funny things happened that made me second guess my whole stance on homelessness as I was drawing Brian the shoe shiner. 15 minutes into the drawing there came a person pushing a $50 into Brian’s top pocket.  I thought to myself “Good for you Brian!”

Then moments later another person generously squeezed $20 into Brian’s hand.  Then came another person with a note in his hand! At the same time Brian gave me a look to see if I was watching.  I thought as if to say ‘that bugger just made more money begging in 20 minutes than I would make in 2 hours working at my previous job!’  All the while I looked into my own donation box to see that I still had the initial loose change I had put In from the beginning.

‘You know he’s not really homeless’ a man said kneeling down beside my easel.  His pet dog beside him.

‘What do you mean he’s not homeless, look at him!’ I said sounding quite presumptuous trusting in my stereotype of what a homeless person should look like.

‘He has a home, and clean clothes.  he dresses like that just to fool people’

‘How do you know?’ 

‘Because I’m homeless’ the man said at this point dropping coins into my donation box, and also the first person to do so I might add.

‘How do I know you’re not bull-shitting like you say he is?’

‘I can show you where I stay in the park, and introduce you to a whole lot of other homeless people’

So now I’m thinking there may be a 4th type of homeless person. The one that isn’t really homeless.

I finished a rough sketch of Brian just as the security guard informed me that I was on private property and directed me to public grounds.

Now you may ask,  Is Brian homeless? Do I still want to help the homeless?  I’m not sure…  but all I know is that I still want to draw and paint and help people in genuine need of it.