“Why lie? I need a beer.” That was a common slogan for panhandlers’ signs, when they started trending toward humor sometime in the late ’90s, says Willie Baronet.

Baronet, an artist who lives in Oak Cliff, should know. He’s been buying signs from homeless people for over 20 years.

He started buying them around 1993 because, he says, panhandlers made him uncomfortable.

An art director in the advertising industry for years, Baronet went to graduate school in 2008 and started using the signs as part of art projects.

Now he is a professor at Southern Methodist University, and his homeless sign project, “We Are All Homeless,” just keeps growing.

Baronet is raising money for a cross-country tour of 24 United States cities over 31 days in July. He and film-making pal Tim Chumley are trying to raise $44,000 for the project.

They plan to create a documentary film based on the trip, and Baronet has plans for a book based on “We Are All Homeless.” Check out the gifts and perks for donations on the right side of their fundraising page. And look for our interview with Baronet in the June Advocate.