Homeless no more: Artist Anthony Taylor inherits house

Back in May, we profiled homeless artist Anthony Taylor, who makes a living selling prints of his art across the street from the Capitol.

Now we’re happy to report that Taylor has inherited the house he grew up in – though it’s three hours from Sacramento, where he plans to continue to spend time.

Taylor said that his father left the house to him and his three sisters when he died in 1997. Taylor was in prison at the time, on a drug charge he said he didn’t commit. The place was rented out for years, but after it had fallen into disrepair, sparking complaints from neighbors, he said, his sisters agreed to turn it over to him.

“The place was rented out to some druggies on the run from somebody in LA,” Taylor said. He added that, based on some photos that were left behind, “They were shooting porno in my bedroom where I used to sleep.”

After getting the place last week, he said, he went there to discover it strewn with clothing and trash. Worse, he said, the drywall is covered in mold, forcing him to start the process of tearing it all out.

“They left the water running when they moved out,” he said. “The pipes all busted.”

The house had been vacant for a year, he said. Taylor said that he plans to split time between Herlong and Sacramento. He said he has a friend who he drives around in a van she owns but can’t drive due to bad eyesight; she’s letting him drive it to and from Herlong.

Taylor plans to continue to make and sell art in Sacramento at least half the time, where he will remain homeless and living in a tent aside from occasional house-sitting opportunities. He’s been selling postcards of his latest drawing, showing the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament on 11th St., from his spot in front of Chicory across the street from the Capitol.
He also reports that he hasn’t yet been called in to testify on AB 1756, a bill by Assemblyman Sandre Swanson, D-Oakland, that would allow convicted felons to receive food stamps. The bill is a gut-and-amend of a similar bill Swanson pushed last year, AB 1198. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed a similar Swanson bill in 2008.

Jessica Bartholow, the legislative advocate with the Western Center on Law and Poverty who originally approached Taylor about testifying, said he still may get his chance if the bill heads to a committee where the vote count is in doubt. Up to now, she said, they haven’t really needed to call in witnesses and subject them to the “abuse” that often comes with the process.

“I think it would be a good idea to have him there,” Bartholow said. “He’s a mini celebrity around town now. He knows everybody. I’m hoping there will be an opportunity.”

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