• Isabella Ji

Art that Feeds the Homeless

Dogs and sharks sculpted from piles of recycled cans and recycled metals outline the streets of Arizona in many galleries, fairs, as well as several online websites.

Alexi Devilliers, aka Fishliptz, uses empty food cans and recycled materials from feeding the homeless to make sculptures. He has made metal figurines of dogs, cats, tin can robots, and piggy banks. 

Every Saturday morning, for about 10 years now, Devilliers gets up at 5:30 am and cooks around 100 hot meals with his wife. Then, the couple loads the meals into the back of their minivan to distribute it among the homeless in Phoenix, Arizona. 

The money for the food comes from what Devilliers makes from selling his artwork . The remaining money then goes to supporting his family. 

Devilliers says that he never envisioned himself doing this. For years, he worked in maintenance, with an artistic background that only consisted of his high school shop class and his sixth grade art class.

This artist’s fame all started when he saw how many homeless people are in need of a nice meal. He knew that he had to do something. He claims that providing the homeless with meals felt natural because he was raised with Cuban immigrant parents, who taught him to share what he had with others.

In 2009, Devilliers packed all his leftovers from a Saturday dinner and decided to hand them to the homeless in the park. He started with 12 meals that Saturday and the following week. It was not long before this number doubled. 

One day he drove to downtown Phoenix with many leftovers and came across a group of homeless elders gathered outside Justa Center, a resource center for the homeless who were 55 and older. 

“I passed out whatever meals I had left” Devilliers said, “there were 80 more elderly people inside the shelter that didn’t get anything to eat that day.”

That following Saturday, Devilliers made 100 meals and handed them out at Justa Center. He has been providing “Just A Center” with hot, nutritious lunches ever since. 

Later on, Devilliers started making all sorts of figurines using Budweiser boxes and glue guns for fun. Then, he just started to slap things together to make little funny sculptures using leftover cans. 

He would say, “Oh, look, a robot.” Then, after putting another couple cans together, he would say, “Oh, look, a cat. Oh, look, a dog. I can make a shark out of this if I open up the can.” 

Devilliers’ art is unique and is entirely eco-friendly. His efforts to make art while also giving to his community is absolutely remarkable and a total inspiration. “All these cans fed somebody who really needed something to eat,” says Devilliers. Learn more about how he merges his passion for art with helping others on his website: http://alexidevilliers.com/index.html

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