Portfolio > Interviews with Escapists

Painting of escapism by Karley Feaver
Lloyd, Homeless
Acrylic, vinyl and cardboard on board
1000 x 1000mm


Lloyd is 51 years old and has pretty much been on the streets since he was 8 years old. He is dressed in a long, dirty trench coat, black dirty pants, T-Shirt, a backpack and a stick wrapped in fabric. It’s not a walking stick, but probably a mechanism of protection or maybe just a trade-mark of his look. He has long hair dreaded in pony-tails and wears a beanie to cover the rest of his matted hair underneath.

Lloyd is one of 7 children, born in Waitara. He has lived in Auckland since the late 70s and some of his siblings are also up here…not on the streets. He chooses this lifestyle, he likes it, is use to it, but dreams of escaping on a big ship overseas somewhere. He doesn’t really care where, he just loves boats and wants to sail away somewhere and live in luxury. He says he hasn’t really indulged in any escapism lately, but says if he could be an animal he would be a Lion “because then I would be the master”.

Lloyd tells me that the number one rule on the streets is “food comes first, everything else falls in behind”. He has friends, or knows people, who own restaurants and dairies so he can get a feed if he wants one. He knows where to find food if he needs it. He has seen some terrible things in his time on the streets, suicides, violence and junkies. “The streets are not for everyone” he says, “there are people out here who shouldn’t be here, it can get dangerous at times, but if you know how to watch your back and keep your mouth shut, you can survive”.

His past is filled with crime and moving around New Zealand. He started running away from home when he was 8 years old, has been in and out of jail and hostels. He has a record for theft – of cars and other things – but no record for drugs, although he likes his marijuana. “I use to be a bad person” he says. “I have done a lot of bad things, but I have also done some good things over the years. I am old enough now to have more control of my life, not completely, but more than when I was younger”.

Lloyd has a very youthful look, good skin under that long black beard he wears. These days he describes himself as an average guy, a few faults, but average. “Others say I am a good sort” he says. He wishes they wouldn’t say that, he doesn’t want to be seen at that guy.