Friday, September 4, 2009 | By: Tonya Keitt Kalule

William Laga-Mental Illness, Homeles, Brilliant

William Laga was diagnoses with Schizophrenia at the age of 16 and has been on the streets for over thirty years. An art gallery owner has been spending her Mondays with William because she recognize his brilliance and his illness. She buys him paint and canvasses so he can do what frees him, and that is paint.

William has been walking 16 miles to sit in art classes at Pierce College here in San Fernando Valley. He has been taking this walk for over three decades and the professors allow him to sit in their classes as well as take a weekly shower in the gymnasium at the school.

The art gallery owner, Marcell Danan has carefully packed up and shipped William's art to Paris for his first gallery showing, William is also staying in a hotel in Paris.
This is a beautifully amazing story and there are many more out there like William.


Andrew Morrow said...

Oh Billy, you have found in one person both patron and Muse. Now is it Time to find that Ĺ“uvre. Apply and redeem thyself! Lunge! Parry! Deploy all that is within your Mind upon the canvas and thereby establish you intellectual legacy.

Anonymous said...

He never went to Paris. He is still on the streets. He has no place to sleep. This is very sad

Tonya Keitt Kalule said...

I did see William myself still on the street in Westwood, near UCLA. I was just taken aback when I saw him. He was rather clean, but looking through the trash cans in the area. I was heart broken to see him. I would love to know what happen, that changed everything.

Anonymous said...

I have a collection of his work from the early 80's at Pierce College...he hung out and sold them at the student sales. I loved his was so exciting and sophisticated. Very colorful serigraphs! I have one black and white print that is crazy amazing! If anyone is interested in viewing them let me know.

Anonymous said...

Don't feel sorry for William. He is not mentally ill or homeless. Many people have offered their home to him but he respectfully declines. He is definitely different but is not mentally ill. In fact, after a few minutes speaking with him, you will have litttle difficulty realizing he is one of the most intelligent and eloquent people you will come across. Plus, his art is fantastic and is completely original.

Anonymous said...

I have a piece of his art & want to sell it but can't find any place to find prices. Any thoughts? It's a Beautiful person who seems angry or scared.

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