Painting his way to Venice, CA – one homeless man’s journey

Photo MJ Duncan: David Roundtree, 34, of San Bernardino, paints on discarded items for cash on the corner of Del Rosa and Date to ultimately make his way to Venice, CA where he believes he’ll fit in better as it’s more artistically inclined. David is pictured with his 2-year-old female Chihuahua mix, Little Bit.
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On the corner of Date St. and Del Rosa Avenue is where David Roundtree, 34, a homeless man released from Adelanto Detention Center in April for a non-violent offense, set up shop on Saturday, Aug. 10. On display are a handful of original paintings he’s created – one on the back of a cupboard that was headed to the landfill, and another on what was once a dresser drawer.

David, who refers to himself as “residentially dynamic,” uses his artistic talent fostered by his grandmother when he was young to paint on recycled objects to earn enough cash to get him to Venice, CA, where he believes is more artist-friendly. He explained that it was important for him to earn his cash rather than ask for a handout. His sign reads in part, “I’m broke, not broken.”

The San Bernardino transplant from Chicago worked as a dog groomer for 17 years until he suffered a hand injury that left him without sensation in his right hand. He would paint to get by, using women’s makeup he found in dumpsters if he had no paint. On Saturday he was using acrylics.

David was in good spirits despite being recently jumped by a group of guys at Wildwood Park while others stood idly by, which resulted in a bruised kidney, broken rib and severe concussion. To that he quoted Edmund Burke, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”

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David is accompanied by Little Bit, his 2-year-old female Chihuahua mix he saved from Wildwood Dog Park.

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Maryjoy Duncan, Managing Editor of Inland Empire Community News (comprised of the El Chicano, Colton Courier and Rialto Record), was chosen as one of 25 recipients from over 1,000 school districts in the State of California to receive the California School Boards Association’s 2018 Golden Quill Award, presented in recognition of fair, insightful and accurate reporting on public school news. Maryjoy is also a Guest Teacher with the San Bernardino City Unified School District. For news leads, she can be reached by email:, or by phone: (909) 381-9898 ext. 207.