Homeless man showered with gifts after his street art goes viral

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A HOMELESS man who sells his drawings for 20p has been showered with gifts of art materials after a Facebook post about him went viral.

The 39-year-old, known only as Mark or by his nickname “Pel”, works in the cold and rain on one of the busiest shopping streets in Scotland.

But after one fan posted online that he had given Mark a present of paper, pens and a cushion, dozens of kind-hearted shoppers in Argyle Street, Glasgow, followed suit.

And the original post, by musician Gerry Crowley, has been shared over 5,000 times.

Gerry, from Castlemilk, Glasgow, posted on Saturday: “On Argyle Street across from M&S there’s a wee homeless guy selling his drawings.

Mark on the streets of Glasgow
Mark on the streets of Glasgow

 

“I asked him how much and he said 20p. Couldn’t stop thinking about him freezing in the cold rain doing his wee drawings with s****e felt tips.”

Gerry added: “Told him I had a wee present for him. When I gave him the art set he burst into tears. He said no-one has ever given him a present before.

“The lack of expectation from a man so used to having nothing broke my heart.

“He said he draws because it’s the only thing that makes him feel happy. He doesn’t like asking folk for money so he sells his drawings and the police leave him alone.”

Gerry finished: “If you see him on Argyle Street have a chat with him and buy one of his wee drawings.”

Mark usually draws cartoon characters, which he copies from children’s books. He first makes outlines with a biro, before colouring them in.

Pel is now being given fresh art supplies by well-meaning strangers, as well as hot drinks and burgers from a local takeaway.

Mark shows off his  drawings
Mark shows off his drawings

 

In one 20-minute period on Monday, at least six passers-by stopped to talk to Mark and two well-dressed elderly ladies handed over bags full of pens and coloured paper.

Jessica Collier, 24, security guard from Glasgow, said: “Somebody sent a post saying if you went past, to say hi to him, so that’s what I just did.

“I was just passing. I saw him drawing there and I was like – that’s the guy from Facebook. He’s not even asking for money, he’s just drawing.”

A local trader, who asked not to be named, said: “He refuses to beg. He never bothers anybody, he’s just a really nice wee guy.”

A delighted Mark, originally from the Gorbals, looked into one of the bags he had just been handed and said, with a huge grin: “That’s brilliant – I needed a pencil sharpener.”

He added: “I can’t believe this.

“I started drawing them when I was six years old and I was in a children’s home. Just doodling and that. I never really got into a career.

“I never really sold pictures before. I just started selling them a month ago. They’re doing quite well, they’re taking off. It’s OK.”

Gerry’s original act of kindness was widely praised online..

Brenda McKenzie wrote: “You have the Christmas spirit, God bless.”

John Joseph Gillen wrote: “A real uplift for a Monday morning.”

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