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“I don’t collect things; I accumulate them”: a 47-year-old artist and DJ’s life on an unpredictable income

"I don't collect things; I accumulate them": a 47-year-old artist and DJ's life on an unpredictable income
(Image: Kayla Rocca)

Who: Ulysses Castellanos, 47

What he does: A multi-disciplinary artist who also works as a DJ and an actor.

What he makes: Last year he made $45,000. His income fluctuates, though, and sometimes dips as low as $15,000.

Some of how he spends it: His share of rent on apartment in Little Italy, where he lives with two housemates: $600. Cellphone: $50. Internet: $60. Drugs: $400 monthly. (“The thing about pot is that it puts a membrane between you and reality. That’s what I love about it.”) Alcohol: $150 monthly. Subscription to Modern Painters magazine: $114.95 annually. Transportation costs: $0. (“I hate public transit and bikes, and I hate traveling for no reason, so I never go anywhere unless somebody paid for me to be there.”) Books and records: $100 monthly. (“I’m a degenerate. I don’t collect things; I accumulate them.”) Art supplies: $50-$200 monthly. (“My work is made from a mixture of really expensive supplies and stuff I find in the garbage.”)

What he bought in one week: Weed on Sunday: $20. (“I’m not good with weights and measures, but I imagine it’s a gram?”) Weed on Tuesday: $20. Weed on Thursday: $40. (“I’m cutting back on it.”) Weed on Friday: $20. Bag of day-olds and a coffee from Nova Era, every day for six days: $29. (“That’s what I eat every day at 5 a.m. It’s pretty much my meal for the day. My stomach is tiny.”) Big Mac meal and 10 Chicken McNuggets, on two different days: $28. Jerk chicken meal from Jerk King: $11. Two bottles of wine and a micky of Grant’s: $38. Breakfast combo number five from Tim Hortons: $5.50. (“It’s a BLT bagel. It’s so delicious.”) Archaeology books from Sellers and Newel: $50. (“I turn them into art. A lot of my work is based on books.”)

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