artwork by local homeless & non-traditional artists 423-521-4707 110 E. Main Street, Chattanooga, TN 37408
One of our awesome volunteers, Lizzie!
Artist Profile: "Willie" James Clark
Willie James Clark (aka “Bae Bae”) was born in Greensboro, NC to a single mom of 6 children (later to become 10)! His mother served time in jail for assault and Willie was placed in a foster home at six years old. Willie began to steal at an early age and dropped out of school in ninth grade. He only had one job, and has been in and out of jail for most of his life. He had a son with a longtime partner but was unable to see him until his son was 7 years old, when his brother, James, who is his advocate, made it possible to meet him. James has also supplied Willie with money for art supplies and visited him while he was incarcerated. It wasn’t until Willie was 40 years old that he was diagnosed with mental illness (Paranoid Schizophrenia, which runs in the family). He was also diagnosed with throat cancer. He is currently “on vacation” (his family joking calls it when he’s out of jail), living in Columbus, Ohio, dealing with his mental illness and cancer. As a prolific artist, he would love to open an art studio, if he doesn’t go “home” (to jail) again.