Over the last five years, Vancouver based Artist and Architect Taizo Yamamoto has created an amazing series of drawings of homeless peoples shopping carts. Meticulously drawn in graphite and pen, the images are freeze frames of what Yamamoto calls sculptural works in progress. He is fascinated by the ever changing look that is created by the individual that builds and lives out of the cart. By examining them you begin to see glimpses of how the owner lives, elements of weather protection (tarps, umbrellas, bubble wrap, sleeping bags), bottle/can currency, and even personalized objects like stuffed animals. He says that as an architect he is fascinating to see how these carts are truly “designed” in terms of immediacy and necessity.
These remind me of Robert Longo’s “Men in Cities”, drawings from the late 80’s and early 90’s yet the absence of the human figure adds an almost haunting quality to them. Yamamoto has captured such detail in each work, copying what was created out of necessity by the homeless individual who carries all of their belongings in this single, modern day wagon. Yet that individual is absent from the image, rendering the cart a disembodied extension of the individual.