A homeless man and a former Calgary Drop-In Centre volunteer continue to encourage one another’s artistic endeavours despite the fact the centre’s art program ended in 2017.

Ian Kroll, who was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis nearly 20 years ago, creates abstract images by pouring acrylic paint and finds the outlet gave him a purpose. “It’s just been all about learning and discovery for me because I’m just teaching myself through the process.”

His love of painting led him to the Drop-In Centre where he volunteered to help the homeless and assist with the art program.

Sam Bighetty has been a client of the Drop-In Centre for the last 10 years and paints depictions of his childhood memories. “It keeps me away from my situation,” explained Bighetty. “It helps me with my addiction. I love it. I love painting.”

Kroll and Bighetty became friends during their time together at the centre’s art program and when the program ended, their friendship found a way to continue. Despite their unique approaches to painting, they have found a way to collaborate.

Bighetty is inspired by the images he discovers within Kroll’s works and paints companion pieces of what he sees in the abstract that isn’t necessarily apparent to others. Kroll has also created abstract backgrounds for Bighetty to paint atop of.

The two artists have been pleased with their collaborations and plan to produce many more pieces together. Given their limited income, the two have adopted a thrifty approach to their art and are always on the hunt for supplies.

Kroll has created the IMageKink website where their artwork, as well as the works of two other artists, is displayed and available for purchase.