On Connecticut Avenue with Dupont Circle in D.C., Joshua Francovitch, 35, parked the SUV he bought in 2015 to connect with the memories of his military service, where he had to hide he was gay for more than four years. He says that taking the old Chevrolet for people to decorate it in public spaces has become part of a personal therapy project.
“This [the vehicle] is me. Literally, me. And I want people to be a part of it. It’s interactive!”, explains Francovitch, who believes this is the best way to establish a connection between his experience in the military and in society.
A year after the mass shooting that took place at Pulse Club in Orlando, Florida, LGBTQ activists are back on the streets to express their displeasure with the lack of rights for community members. Especially since President Donald Trump has not spoken in favor of LGBTQ freedom nor declared the month in national celebration, which many have interpreted as a step back in the recognition that have been achieved in previous years.
For this war veteran, all rights are defined by the community itself, so he believes there will be no setback and that nobody, not even the president, will push against the freedoms that already have been established.
“We’re not on Trump’s radar. And we have achieved a lot already: they revoked ‘Do not ask, do not tell‘, we benefit from the possibility of getting married. It is difficult to take away our rights when they have been given to us”, says Francovitch sitting on the M1009 who, like him, has its own military career.
Life and Military Career
Francovitch was born in Baltimore, Maryland, in 1982 and still lives there. He began his military career in 2004 with the United States Air Force. During his time with the military, he had to put aside his sexual orientation in order to serve his entire contract. He says others did not run with the same fate he did.
“While I was in [the military], four guys got kicked out because they were gay. Ruined their lives”, says the young man who served 454 days in total during two operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.
After completing his studies in electrical engineering, he now provides information technology services to a telecommunications company. Today he wears his war boots on the front bumper of his Chevy.
Art Project on the M1009
Francovitch purchased the 1989 Chevrolet Blazer K5 M1009 in October 2015. It used to be owned by the Air Force, registered to a corps base in the state of Nevada. He said he did not need a vehicle, but it was an opportunity to start his project.
“It’s perfect”, he recalls saying to himself at the time he located the SUV in Cincinnati. He paid $3,000 to a Ukrainian immigrant, who had painted the Chevy with rhino liner, a coating material that allows people to write and draw on the vehicle with chalk. So far, he has invested $6,500 in repairs and just placed a new transmission.
He says that the real joy is when he returns home to wash the Chevy, when he reads all the messages and expressions people left behind.
The next step: to connect with others via social media. “I created a profile on Instagram to take photos [of the vehicle] after each event and create a unique experience people can share, one that can’t be replicated”, explains Francovitch about the new stage of his project.
Introverted on camera, the founder of @spectrarttruck defines his project as “roaming art project truck bringing smiles”.
“This allows me to be myself. Part of what helps me is art, so it’s my own voice, a way of expressing myself openly”, he reflects.
After attending the D.C. Pride Parade, he looks forward to visiting ARTSCAPE 2017, parking at the M&T Stadium, when the Baltimore Ravens start practicing for the season, and having a gallery event with the Ripped Canvas Artist Social Club in Barre Circle, Baltimore, MD.