A Talk With the Artist: “We Are Not Your Homeless” Installation by Monte at Open Book

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Last month this blog had a post about an installation-in-progress by Nevada County artist Monte. Recently I caught up with Monte at the Open Book Bookstore and Event Center where his installation currently is hung on the peg-board wall gallery area. 

Sierra Roots: I see several new pieces are up since my last visit. So what was the genesis of this show? What motivated you?

Monte: It came from being homeless myself. And, from helping run the cold winter shelter and knowing Janice O’Brien. I’m trying to communicate from our point of view—the stuff you don’t hear about too much. Most of the conferences [on homelessness] never hear from our side directly.  Like rent control, no one talks about it, so it’s in my show.  I don’t have any solutions, I’m just making my comments which you can like or dislike. But you got to bring up the issues. Prices will keep spiraling up. It’s how people make their money. You can do that but then don’t complain about people living outside. 

Sierra Roots: What is your process for making your art?

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Monte: I go to the 99 cents stores and the dollar stores for props. I have a cheap-punk political philosophy. I don’t want to use computers much. If you can’t make a sign with a Sharpie, sissors, and glue,  something’s off. I’ll scan something, use it as a tool— I’m not anti-computer—but I’m glad I started before computers.

Sierra Roots: What is your relationship with the Open Book?

Monte: I’m a volunteer here. I did a music show here and it went nicely. The owners Angela Sells and Will Dane had this wall for artists, so that’s how this got started. 

All art images ©2019 Monte

“We Are Not Your Homeless” Art Installation by Monte is at the Open Book Bookstore and Event Center,  671 Maltman Drive (adjacent to Sierra Roasters), Grass Valley