ROCHESTER – Rob Hill says he hopes to sell a few paintings during the first downtown Thursdays on June 16.
However, Hill will not have a vendor booth. Hill doesn’t even have a permanent home right now.
Hill painted on found, purchased, and salvaged canvases and took them to public places.
“These aren’t my best paintings,” Hill said, laying out a dozen works on a berm along the bike path on the south bank of the Zumbro River in downtown Rochester. “Most of my best work is there.”
Over the past two years, Hill has created around 1,500 works of art, he said.
Occasionally you can find his whereabouts and his work on Facebook. However, this is not his preferred method of moving his paintings.
“I haven’t had much luck online,” he said.
He takes some responsibility for it.
“I could never keep my phone on for more than two months in a row,” he added.
Later that day, he brought some paintings to Peace Plaza. It carries a plastic bin on wheels to move the canvases.
“I try to keep it bright with lots of color,” he said of his work. “Some people like grim reapers and skulls, so I do that once in a while.”
Hill said he spent much of last winter living outdoors. Hill said he has spent most of three of the past five winters in a permanent home.
“It’s a struggle,” he said.
Despite the resources at his disposal, Hill prefers to stay with friends or camp outdoors. Hill said he went to The Landing, a drop-in center for people struggling with homelessness, for lunch. Staff asked him to fill out paperwork, he said.
Landing co-founder Dan Fifield said he wasn’t specifically familiar with Hill or his barriers to services, but said asking people who use The Landing’s services to fill out paperwork is a standard request. This helps them keep records of who requested and received services, not only for the benefit of landing staff, but also to document the use of services for funding purposes, he said.
Hill said he was more interested in creating art than seeking services.
“I think everyone has something to offer the world,” he said. “That’s what I do.”