Mark Jaeger’s Homeless Superheroes: Modern re-creations of angels, saints or protectors

By on July 11, 2015

Mark Jaeger is a Bay Area fine artist, working primarily in clay, and in the past year or so has been investigating the notion of homeless superheroes, inspired by the elderly and a homeless man he’d passed on the streets of San Francisco’s Tenderloin district.

Talking last year with Vicky Larson of MarinIj.com, Jaeger said: “….Wouldn’t it be interesting if these people who are dismissed by society were really the superheroes, who, when nobody was looking, were out taking care of everybody?”

Last year, on August 9, 2015, Jaeger’s sculptures were being shown at the MINE Gallery in Fairfax, California, in Marin County, when actor/comedian Robin Williams and his wife Susan Schneider stopped by at the reception.

According to several articles we’ve read, Jaeger and Williams had met previously, and this article in particular says that, according to the Marin News, Williams’ wife’s sons were expected to take Jaeger’s ceramics class at Marin Catholic High School.

Williams had also apparently previously purchased one of the homeless superhero sculptures, and on this night — and you can hear him talking about the upcoming show at this clip we’ve included above — Jaeger says that he and Williams talked about a possible script based on the concept of his sculptures … a homeless superhero who comes out during the night to help people in need.

Unfortunately, and tragically, Williams was found dead just two days later, on August 11, 2015, and Jaeger and those at the gallery that night may have been the last people to see him in public, according to a few articles, like this one.

We still think it’s a great idea for a movie, Mark.

Mark Jaeger 2

Williams had long championed trying to help the homeless, and had even testified before the Senate Labor and Human Resources Committee in 1990 in support of the Homelessness Prevention and Community Revitalization Act, which sought to direct funding to housing-based support centers for the chronically homeless and to boost mental-health services.

This hasn’t been confirmed, but shortly after Williams’s death, we learned that Williams may have had a clause in his contract rider requiring the people who hired him, for every single event or film he did, to also had to hire a certain number of homeless people and put them to work (as we said, it remains unconfirmed by Snopes, but certainly sounds like something Williams would have done).

Mark Jaeger 1

Photo by Vicki Larson

On this website, Jaeger writes: “I’m interested in how our culture has created these figures and where their roots may connect to angels, saints, ancestor protectors, etc. I am intrigued by the concept of placing different social types into the role of the superhero. Then, the identity of the figure and the mask create a completely different perception for the viewer and this cause for reflection is a hopeful result of the work.”

Mark Jaeger 3

Jaeger teaches ceramics at Marin Catholic High School and operates his own private studio in San Anselmo.

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About Bryan Thomas

Bryan Thomas has been a freelancing writer/critic for All Music Guide, and a contributor to Launch, Music Connection, Big Takeover and numerous other publications and entertainment websites, blogs and zines, most of them long gone. He's written more than sixty sets of liner notes. He’s also worked for over twenty years at mostly reissue record labels -- prior to that he worked in bookstores and record stores, going all the way back to the original vinyl daze. He lives in the Miracle Mile neighborhood of Los Angeles, CA.