I first met Rico at the Glendale Winter Shelter. I was drawn to his large canvas of bright colors. We've had some rainy weather in Los Angeles this winter, and the National Guard allowed us to keep the armory open during the day. Rico didn't mind the rain; it excited him because he could work on his art.
There is no way to paint a bright, colorful picture of homelessness. But there is something incredible about the spirit of a person who has a vision that can conquer any challenge. Rico's life is not easy. He has lived on the streets for two of the three months that he has been in Los Angeles.
You could consider Rico lucky because he has a talent that might soon deliver him out of a horrible situation. The thing is, though, I've seen many talented people give up on the streets. The difference? Rico is a fighter. The creativity is not just what he puts on the canvas but what he puts in his heart to make it through another day.
Public radio reporter Rob Schmitz followed me the day I interviewed Rico. Below is the InvisiblePeople.tv story: