WASHINGTON - Carlton Joyner went from painting and sleeping on the streets to scoring his own art show in the nation’s capital. He's known as "Painterman," and has been on the D.C. streets for more than seven years. But that didn’t stop his painting.
"Whatever God put in my hand, I make it work," Carlton said.
His tools: An oatmeal jug to hold his brushes; a chicken tray for a palette; pieces of couch cushion for sponges; and a discarded window for canvas.
He's been painting since he was seven. Now he's fifty-one.
"I did everything backwards. I made all the wrong choices. I fell on my face in the street, and when I was there, I realized I had one thing left and the gift God gave me and that’s what I've been using,"
Painting is his heartbeat: "If you took it away from me, and said, 'Carlton, you can't paint no more, you can't express yourself any more,' I might as well be gone," Carlton said.
Carlton sold his art for food money—the price depended on how hungry he was.
All that changed when self-declared hippie "Visto" was doing a photo shoot on H Street. He noticed the lively "Painterman," but what really stuck out was what Painterman said: "People always say they going to come back, but they never come back."
"That right there hit me in the heart," Visto said. "I know how it feels to be let down [when] people promise you things."
Visto himself is an artist—a rapper and "the head hippie in D.C." He told Painterman he was coming back.
Visto picked up some food and set up an art show while he was eating. After more than forty years of painting, Carlton Joyner, aka Painterman, has a date set for his own art show in the nation’s capital: this Thursday, March 23rd, at 4pm at Touche Nightclub on his own street, H Street. There’s a $10 donation at the door, and about 20 of his pieces will be on display. He'll be there painting live and selling his art.
"The show means to me that God didn’t make no junk," Painterman told FOX 5. "I still have value, and I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."
Currently, Painterman does have housing, but he's still using the old tools he scrounged up on the streets. Visto connected Carlton to the things he wanted. The only thing left on his wish-list? A helicopter.
"We all deserve to succeed and have the opportunity to excel…a lot of people hold the blessings for themselves, and they don’t spread them," Visto said. "It just took someone to stop and take the time out of your day."
All proceeds from the art show will go straight to Painterman, and maybe, he’ll get a helicopter with them.
Carlton "Painterman" Joyner's 1st ever art exhibit & fundraiser
Touche | 1123 H st NE DC | Thursday, March 23rd | 4 p.m. - 11 p.m. | $10 donations at door