The future is looking brighter for a homeless artist who's been down on his luck.
After panhandling on the side of the road, 56-year-old Jon Masters gathered enough money to buy art supplies to create spectacular landscape portraits to sell. His story and talent caught the attention of his Pensacola, Florida, community and now his paintings are in high demand, the Pensacola News Journal reported.
His work is also motivating other homeless people to take action.
“They're seeing the response I'm getting and some of them are trying to figure out what they can do that's similar. They want to do something on their own,” he told the news outlet. “I'm actually able to inspire others. To me, that's the best part about all of this."
Masters had some tough times before hitting his stride with painting. In August, he was jailed for two weeks for a trespassing charge, forcing him to temporarily give up his best companion and medical alert dog, Sheba, to a local animal shelter. And during this time, the boat he had saved enough money to live on sunk, leaving him and Sheba to sleep outside after his release from jail, the Pensacola News Journal reported.
But after holding a sign on a street corner at the end of September, asking for money, Masters was able to buy enough paint and canvases to create paintings to sell on the side of the road. Recently, he has been developing a floating tree series called change, according to the artist’s Facebook page.
“When you are down and feel in a rut just remember that it's the nature of reality that all things change and that you can embrace it, like the tree,” he wrote.
Masters has had the opportunity to sell his work, which start at $25, at a farmer’s market, and is working with a local studio, Driftology Art & Designs, to organize a weekly barbecue to bring homeless artists together.
The Pensacola community is helping to advance Masters and his craft, dropping off art supplies and canvases, as well dog food for Sheba. The future is still unclear for Masters, as he’s still without a stable shelter, but he plans to keep making art.
"I have managed to finally be stocked with art [supplies]," he wrote on Facebook. "I really want to thank everyone for [their] help and support. I am slowly getting out of the hole. Heartfelt thank you"
To see more of Masters' work or to purchase some of his art, visit his Facebook page here.
Read more about Masters and his work on the Pensacola News Journal.
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