Ramblin' Randy Battaglia
Artist and musician Ramblin' Randy Battaglia relies on his creative side to find contentment as he tries to make his way, living out of a van. Painting and playing music take the edge off of his often hard life.
- [Randy] I'm an artist.
That's how I make my living,
that's all I do to make a living, that's all I wanna do.
It's all I think about, I dream about it.
- [Trish Snyder] Randy came by my store
about a little over a month ago, walked in and said,
"I'd like to do some painting for you."
And I said, "I don't need anyone to paint.
Show me something that you do."
And he said, "I'm homeless, I have nothing to show you."
He was crossing the street,
and he looked quite forlorn to say the least,
his head was down and nobody wanted him to work.
And I started screaming at him,
"Come back, come back, I want you to do my windows."
He said, "Give me a picture of something and I'll paint it."
And I gave him some pictures of Hydrangeas
and this is what he did.
And I said, "I want butterflies,
I want them to be kind of scattered around my window."
And he started painting the butterflies,
everything was freehand and little by little,
I have found business owners who have been really excited
to have him do their windows,
do their murals on their buildings.
He's a true artist.
- She keeps getting me work and I keep saying, "Why?"
And she says I'm her project,
that I was homeless and I touched her heart
and I didn't try to, I just wanted a job.
I am Randy Battaglia and I am an artist,
musician, writer, inventor.
I can do anything in art,
acrylics, oils, the oil pastel, pastel pencils, pen, ink.
I'm back on my feet, I'm back working.
I like to work.
I don't like sitting behind the truck
or in a truck or in a van all day.
And I came here to start over.
I'm a rambler.
My name is Rambling Randy,
and it's in my bones to travel around.
I need some adventure in my life.
I'm sitting in this truck most of the time.
And when you're living in your vehicle,
unless you're in a campground or something,
you can't really move around.
This is how I begin my prayers.
I think of prayers like incense to God.
The same with smudging.
The split feather, you wanna take it out.
It's very important,
and I'll tap it on the back sometimes
to wanna bring kind of like a little drum beat type thing.
The spirit world is very slow.
You pray and sometimes your prayers are guaranteed
if you praying promises of God,
but some of them may take weeks or even years.
But as long as you don't give up, it's guaranteed.
We're in Virginia Beach.
This is a mural I painted here
for a buddy of mine named Jeff.
And he said he wanted the streets of Philadelphia.
And then he started explaining to me
what it was kind of like and all,
we didn't have any real photos.
So I just kinda thought of Philly in my head,
and this is what I came up with.
And a lot of these things on here,
like The Beloved Theater and Isis Beauty Salon,
YR Supply and all these things are pretty much real places
or at least were at one time.
Favorite part is the dog.
I like the dog.
Second favorite, I guess it's just the center part there.
I like that center part
with the line coming out of Philadelphia Cold Cuts
and whatnot, and it's got a lot of folks and we've got cops
and you've got the corners of the streets
and there's a lot of action there.
There's a lot of more action everywhere else here and there,
but that's like the center.
But I go to all my murals eventually
and just remember what it was like
and seeing what came out of my mind.
I like it.
I really do appreciate Jeff for doing that for me.
It was a pretty hard time in my life,
I cried every day when I was in here.
He was always there,
putting his arm around me and giving me a prayer.
I guess in a way it's kind of a heartbreaking mural,
only because of the time.
But you make it through.
Pain doesn't ever leave, you just get used to it.
I'm tired of traveling,
but I don't know how to settle down either,
that's the thing.
I think about leaving every day,
going somewhere else and getting on the road again,
but if I do, I don't think I'll ever get a place to stay.
See, I come out here to paint,
I don't have a place to paint,
so I'm painting under this here shed, out in the woods.
And I liked the woods.
I look in the woods out here
and I see nothing but just heaven.
I wanna be in 'em.
That's your world, you created.
And it's all up to your discipline
as to how quick it's done or how good it's done.
As you can see, I'm building on the shadow here,
but you can overdo it so quickly.
And you're setting up with this dark here
so that you can come back in with the lights,
in the dark to show the depth of the petals.
And then even under the lips of the petals,
you might wanna go a little darker.
Truly, a canvas is your world,
there are people who don't know how to paint at all,
but they can grab a brush and they can go to town,
as long as you got a little bit of depth and light and dark,
you can make a painting.
Might be famous, like Grandma Moses.
Art is the biggest part of my life,
but music is a part of me too.
So I have to have to do it.
♪ I get up in the morning ♪
♪ I don't have a care ♪
♪ I don't even fret about combing my hair ♪
It gives me a chance to be with people
and they kind of accept me a little bit.
It's kind of weird.
It's kind of like my only time
where I'm able to really kind of fit in and talk to people.
♪ I don't want me no house ♪
♪ Or no automobile ♪
♪ I don't like the way bills make me feel ♪
♪ I'm not chasing after the American dream ♪
♪ I'm living it all for real ♪
It's a very lonely life, living like this.
When you are like me and you just don't fit in.
I want to, but it's very hard.
Homeless people can be some of the kindest people
that you ever saw.
they stink and their hair's all mattered
and hungry all the time,
and as far as sticking with you,
homeless people will stick with you wherever you go.
♪ Going to anywhere ♪
♪ When I get to where I am and a pilot for a friend ♪
♪ Is he too will have a road with no end ♪
I don't know, about three years now,
I've been gradually going up in drinking,
it's been increasing.
And I just, I can't stand the drink,
but I'm drinking anyway.
Maybe homelessness has, you know,
the loneliness, has a lot to do with that, maybe.
I know that when I do drink, the first couple of drinks,
I feel great and I'm happy, and then after that,
it's just kinda like, it's no longer a happy thing.
Drinking just to drink.
And it's kinda scary.
I'm not afraid of anything,
but that I'm kind of afraid of.
(jet engines roaring)
You got to love them jets.
They are my backup.
That's the only band I got at the moment.
I'm tired of rambling.
I am Rambling Randy the original,
and I love rambling, and I'm gonna ramble.
I'm a vagabond, eventually I'll ramble again,
but I got to have a home base.