On our way to a Graphic Recording session in Manhattan, both Nora and I met Bruce DeBose while he was creating a visual summary across from Madison Square Garden, in NYC. We were instantly intrigued by his visual depiction of current events combined with his experience of the world.
Bruce Debose – street artist
In a style reminiscent of Robert Crumb, Mr. DeBose uses a cotton sheet for a canvas and whatever markers are available to him. The content he depicts widely ranges from homelessness, to job loss, to same sex marriage in NY, to the White House’s struggle to balance the budget.
Homeless himself, the street is his studio (west 33rd street to be exact) and has been for years. Not unlike Henry Darger, Mr. DeBose wonders if his work will be discovered and appreciated as folk art once he dies. He signs each piece that he creates: “By Bruce DeBose: the Artist” followed by an eerie sentence in past tense, “I was 57 years old.”
At the top of this particular piece, Mr. DeBose created a drawing of himself asking the pertinent question to his viewers, “Which one of these people are you?” He intended that the illustration (top and center) be a self-portrait. However, the closer I look, the more I feel that the entire drawing itself is his self-portrait: a visual summary of one man’s time spent living on the streets of New York City.