100 Strangers: SXSW 6th St., Austin, TX

Lakey

"... I always wanted to travel since I was a little kid. I had different ideas to do it but in 2009 I taught myself how to draw. Basically, I told myself I'm gonna draw these lines until it turns into something. Finally it worked, so I just let it evolve over the years. In 2012, I packed everything up and went traveling for the first time. Nashville was my first city so I was almost a thousand miles away from anybody and anything I knew. I didn't have a suit and tie then. I was just in regular street clothes and I would post up on the street just drawing. Every once and a while I would look up and greet people like "hey good afternoon". Over 90 percent of them wouldn't even make eye contact. I never begged anyone for money. I didn't even ask people to look at my art. But nevertheless, this was the kind of responses I was getting.

I use to have a suit and tie marketing job. I don't know if I actually liked it or not but I did kind of blur the truth everyday. 

So in the beginning of 2013, I decided to go ahead and take some of my grandmother's advice and throw on a suit and tie but still continue to do what I love. Now a lot has changed and since I'm dressed this way, police officers, shop owners, everyone is a lot nicer to me. When the police officers ask me to leave, they usually will have a compliment first or an apology. But before the suit and tie it was 'get the f*** off this property, you can't be here, you're trespassing'. You know, they make it sound like you're doing something horrendous.

But it's like you make a trip to goodwill to change up a little bit and BOOM, everyone treats you different..." Lakey