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Artist Makes Large Collage from Homeless Peoples’ Signs

Willie Baronet pays street people for signs over 20-year period



The importance of signs can’t be understated: they inform, they direct, they entertain. For homeless people, they’re a primary means of communication. It would be more far more invasive for a street people to verbally accost every passerby (and likely get them cited by police for aggressive panhandling), so more prudent homeless individuals make cardboard signs to communicate. Many simply asks for alms, whereas others attempt humor.

Since 1993, artist Willie Baronet has paid homeless people to purchase their signs; from them, he’s created a college that creates an illustrative tapestry that depicts the homeless’ daily struggles. Underscoring the hard times impacted by those who live in Motown, Baronet said Detroit was the only town where he encoutered no humorous signs among the homeless population.

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