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VIDEO: Artist does his work on the streets

Clint Williams' art has a special place not just on display at Kelowna's Hambleton Galleries, but in the hearts of the people who run the shop.

Williams lives on the streets of Kelowna but remains a proud member of the Gitxsan Nation, and it's reflected in his work.

"It expresses our culture," said Williams. "Where I'm from."

When he's not wheeling his shopping cart along, or playing a guitar on a park bench, Williams likes to sit down and take out some paper, pencil and paint.

<who> Photo Credit: NowMedia

We watched as he sat on a concrete bench outside the Kelowna library and he created one of his favourites, a hummingbird.

"This is basic one," he said. "This one takes about four to six hours."

He's been creating his distinctly Northwest Coast artwork for close to 20 years.

<who> Photo Credit: NowMedia

"His work is just so beautiful," said Hambleton Owner Josh Peters. "He's taking all of these designs straight out of his imagination from the history of his culture."

Hambleton points out that the gallery has been displaying First Nations art for most of its 60-year history, but the relationship with Clint Williams is something truly special, so the gallery waives its percentage of the sale.

"We give Clint the whole profit from the sales."

<who> Photo Credit: NowMedia

And they keep the price to $200 for most of the pieces so that they sell quickly.

"His needs are immediate," said Peters, "so we try to sell as many as we can."

That's fine by Williams.

<who>Photo credit: Contributed </who>

"I think he told me I've sold 80-something pieces already," Williams said. "In a year and a half."

"We really want to give him a chance to continue to create," said the gallery owner.

Peters finds the artist's ability to remain productive in his circumstances, astounding.

<who> Photo Credit: NowMedia

<who> Photo Credit: NowMedia

"These are literally made on the street, in the open. He doesn't have a home. He doesn't have shelter," he said.

And the difficulties don't stop there.

"His art supplies are constantly being stolen. His finished pieces before he can bring them to me are being stolen."

<who> Photo Credit: NowMedia

So the work isn't just a reflection of William's culture and history, it is a symbol of the strength of the human spirit.

"The perseverance that it takes to continue to create when you have so many disadvantages," said Peters.

Williams' work is available for purchase on the Hambleton Website.

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