There is a strong tradition in the U.S. arts world of exploring parts of society during their times of need that dates back to the early 20th century; Doug Levitt is an artist who is continuing this tradition by looking to explore areas of the U.S. ignored by the mainstream media unless a natural disaster hits. “The Greyhound Diaries” are the result of the work completed by Doug Levitt after he set out on a sic week bus ride that would evolve into an almost decade long obsession with documenting the lives of poverty stricken Americans.
Doug Levitt himself was once part of the mainstream media bringing news into the living rooms of the U.S. public through his position as an international correspondent for some of the best known news media in the world. Levitt entered the field of journalism after being given the chance to study in the U.K. at the London School of Economics and gaining a degree in international relations. During his time living, studying, and working in London Doug Levitt began to feel as though he needed to change his career path and return to his first love of the arts; Doug himself points to the death of his father as a pivotal point in his life that made it clear he needed to concentrate on his artistic vision.
The tradition of U.S. artists exploring aspects of U.S. politics dates back to the 1930s and the Great Depression when the government hoped to record a period of history that was among the most difficult ever seen. Doug Levitt is recreating the kind of journey undertaken in the early 20th century and has already logged more than 120,000 miles riding the Greyhound bus line. For Doug Levitt the turning point in his proposed six week project that led to “The Greyhound Diaries” was the 2008 economic crisis that plunged much of the U.S. into one of the worst recessions in living memory; Levitt believes the effects of the economic downturn are still being felt in the heartland of the U.S. without any reporting being completed on the subject aside from his own artistic project.