by Sheli Ellsworth
Destin (AKA Des) Starchile was fortunate. “I was adopted in San Antonio at a young age and my father was president of the Texas Cradle Society,” he says. “My parents were pillars of the community. As a child, I had numerous health problems and spent a lot of time recovering from surgeries on my legs.”
Starchile is now a local artist who enjoys painting pictures of animals and landscapes. “I’m always willing to paint someone’s pet for donations to cover supplies.”
His professional life has been varied. “Starchile says he earned his GED and even attended a police academy in Florida. “I was a private security guard, a gaffer, a roughneck in the oil field and a mechanic.” “As a young kid, my dad taught me the ins and outs of fixing engines.” Starchile’s father had been a driving force in his life until Starchile left home for government service.
“Five years ago, I was on my way to Hawaii with equipment to start my own motorcycle repair shop when the police confiscated my tools over on Mission Street.” Starchile says that he is a Christian and believes that God brought him to Ventura for a reason. “I don’t know the reason, but I pray and meditate every day, hoping for guidance. I went home to care for my mother after she fell and came away with the realization that my family worships the almighty dollar.”
He is unable to have a relationship with them. “I started painting to relieve my anxiety.” Starchile can often be found painting at the Ventura Promenade.
The 66-year-old Starchile lives in a tent and has been homeless for the last five years. He is a self-described artist, writer and Texas hippie. When asked if he would consider living in government housing, Starchile says that the state’s 5150, rules and curfews would keep him from embracing most housing programs. When asked if he is ever afraid, Starchilde says the only time he feels threatened is when the police stop him.
A philosophical approach has helped Starchile cope with homelessness. “Basic things like brushing teeth can be a challenge. There is the way we want things; the way they should be; and the way they are.”
For his wonderful art see the Art Scene: