Everyone deserves to be seen with eyes of love.
Brian Peterson didn’t know what he had in common with Matt Faris when he went out of his way to meet his Santa Ana, Calif., neighbour.
Every day, Petersonwould pass by Faris, who has been homeless for more than a decade.
Brian, how did it happen that you decided to walk up to Matt?
Peterson:O, it took some guts, you know.It was like butterflies in my stomach. I introduced myself, and I think I apologized to Matt. I remember saying, “I’m sorry for like, driving by you a hundred times and never saying Hi,’ ’cause you were always outside my building.”
Faris:I remember, Brian seemed a sincere one. He asked me a lot of questions, like what I want to do with my life. Things that are important to anyone.
And then you discovered you share the pursuit of art?
Peterson:It was rather unexpected, really. He told me he’d moved to California from Kentucky to be a musician, but that some things didn’t work out.
It was during our first conversation that we discovered we shared the pursuit of art. I was a car designer. It happened so Ihadn’t picked up a paintbrush in eight years, but I found inspiration in Matt.
Out of nowhere I just asked him:“Can I paint your portrait?”
Matt, did you agree?
Faris: Of course not. I said I’mnot photogenic.
Peterson: Yes, that’s what he said. But I saw the man who moved from Kentucky, the guy who came out here to pursue a career in music. And I hadn’t painted in eight years, but he was the first guy that captured my heart and gave me a subject to paint.
I asked Matt what he wanted to do with the proceeds from the painting. Naturally, I suggested some basics for the homeless man: hotel rooms, clothes, shoes.
And what was your answer, Matt?
Faris: I said,I didn’t even have to think about it.”Well, that sounds nice”, I told Brian, “but I want to record a CD”.
It was a bit shocking to you, Brian, wasn’t it?
Peterson: Yes, at that moment it was really so. And when Matt’s answer didn’t change, I started looking up recording studios. In that first recording session, I saw him on the piano, on the guitar, singing — and then I remember he got to the drums. And there was no drum set. So I suggested, “well, just use synthesized drums.”
Matt, what was your reaction?
Faris: Iswatted down that idea. “No way,” I said.
Perterson: And I thought to myself, “Man, how many areas in my own life have I just maybe gave in to settling for less?” And the fact that he wouldn’t was a lesson that I’ve taken with me from that day.
Have you finished recording your album?
Faris: Yes, it’srecorded.And though I don’t know how many ears it will reach, I’m happy and thank fate for my unlikely friendship with Brian Peterson.
It’s really helped me a lot to meet someone who’s really stuck with me.
The feelings seem mutual. Isn’t it so, Brian?
Peterson: Absolutely.I consider Matt more than a friend.He’s shown me things may not always be what they seem, and that there’s a new way of looking at the world. And everyone deserves to be seen with eyes of love.
Since befriending Matt, I started Faces of Santa Ana, a non-profit for which I paint portraits of people in the homeless community and donate the proceeds to them.
And Matt Faris’ full album, Polar Scale, will be released on December 4, this year.