Anthony Hassett: Homelessness Begins at Home: The Travel Journals

Date June 4, 2008 at 10:00 PM

Publication THE magazine

Categories Performing Arts


Anthony Hassett has always been a poet of down-and-out observations in life. Hassett and his companion, artist Erin Currier, have traveled to over forty countries in the last decade, witnessing extreme poverty in places like Bombay and Buenos Aires. While Currier collects trash and debris and makes art out of it, Hassett did the same for years, not with images, but with words, with poetry. Words were the idiom Hassett used to describe the horribly dysfunctional actions of mankind to its own. But for Hassett, words somehow failed to articulate his convictions and, so, using colored pens, Hassett scribbled and sketched in notebooks while he traveled, until the scribbles felt better than the words. Looking at this body of work is scary (and often obscene), because his drawings paint a terrifyingly direct view of the world we live in, exposing how human beings act as a species, and how they use and destroy each other-dog eats dog, man eats man, and life goes on.

Hassett is not a trained draftsman, nor an art school graduate-his drawings are reminiscent of the kinds of scribbling made by bored (and angry) teenagers in high school. Although he was an artist of another medium for most of his life, Hassett was savvy enough to trust and follow his inner urge to take pen to page, showing that all artists must find a way to digest, and then manifest what they have ingested. Hassett has seen many of the ugly realities of this world, and refused to turn his head away. Instead, he has absorbed this visual evidence and done something about it. Hassett's art is not sensational art, and although his drawings may be small in size, their content is powerful and honest-replete with sad, scary truths. And the message is as follows: The human race is in dire straits and is living on the edge of a very steep precipice.

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