Who actually reads the in-flight magazines crumbled in the compartments in front of one’s airplane seat?
I never have. Long story short, while returning home from a trip to Las Vegas in a middle seat with limited music selection from airplane mode activeated iCloud, led me to browsing a surprisingly interesting magazine and the works of Killy Kilford: a British-New York artist, author and founder of the Dept Of Well Being.
Though Kilford began creating large-scale, musician/music inspired prints– working with over 100 bands painting live with Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, Iggy and the Stooges, the Black Eyed Peas and Buena Vista Social Club to name a few. His website notes that “currently his practice explores the syntheses of fine art, sociology and behavioral psychology as a catalyst for enhancing feelings of connectivity and subjective well-being within city environments.” That’s just what he’s doing in the east coast– specifically New York City in 2014 and most recently Newark, New Jersey.
Inspired by the amount of crime in the city, Kilford worked with Newark Mayor Ras Baraka and various students from Central High School, Arts High School, St. Benedict’s High School, and Sojourn High School Dention Center to put up signs with 10 different positive messages throughout the city; 200 total signs are expected to be displayed across the city. Kilford was quoted in the Newark Pulse to say, “Behind every message on Newark’s Happy Street Signs is a story from a young person in Newark. By incorporating these messages into the street sign mechanism, the sign becomes a mirror that shines a light on today’s society and directs us towards a brighter tomorrow.” This latest project from Kilford was inspired by his initial sign in New York City, “Don’t Honk, $350 Penalty” which is no longer in existence but spiraled the anti-violence campaign that is Happy Street Signs.
“Happy Street Signs is the title of a global social change initiative powered by city-specific public art installations under the auspice of the ‘Dept of Well Being’.”
Some of my favorite messages from the signs’ series in both New York and Newark include “Follow Dreams Not Crowds,” “The Future Is Ours,” and “Big City Big Smile.”
I think the Happy Street Signs installations are a beautiful, simple initiative to inspire us all to do and be better and would LOVE to see it come to Houston. “Honk Less love More” was a popular sign in New York City and most definitely appropriate for our crowded Bayou City where driving is almost inescapable– tell us Bees, what would your street sign say?
For more information about Killy Kilford, his current Happy Street Signs project, past works, purchase prints and more click here.