April 25, 2005

You Are Beautiful

by Scott Rettberg · , 7:48 pm

Yes you are!

You Are Beautiful” is a meme-type sticker and installation art project, centered in Chicago but distributed around the world. The most cool thing about this project is how its creators have taken a simple idea, a phrase that many people like to hear, and distributed it across multiple media, and then created a well-designed network photo archive of its many manifestations; a kinder, more affirming version of the “Andre Has a Posse/OBEY” idea. I was also pleased and waxed nostalgiac when I saw that most of the installations have occurred in my old neighborhood in Chicago. Spread the words.

12 Responses to “You Are Beautiful”

  1. josh g. Says:

    This is excellent.

    I remember looking up the OBEY project, after seeing its annoyingly disturbing-yet-memorable images around town in Winnipeg. Did it actually distribute free stickers, though, or just make images available that you could print to stickers yourself?

    The only other sticker campaign I’ve been exposed to (knowingly) that distributed the stickers for free was an anti-alien (as in, space) project. Lots of little round stickers sent out with a red circle-and-line crossing out one of the bulgy-head, oval-eyed iconic alien faces that were so big in the 90’s, and you could mail a request for a free roll. It sort of stuck with me, or more accurately to my wallet (still have one on the inside).

    And all that is to say, I may have to get some of these ones. And the installations are great, although clicking through four of the photo collections in quick succession makes my eyes start to see ‘beautiful’ as some bizarre jumble of letters instead of a word.

  2. scott Says:

    The “OBEY” project started out with one guy in Providence, Rhode Island in 1990. There’s a good essay along with a huge collection of material about the project and downloads on the obeygiant site. Click on essays, sticker art for the history. The first OBEY art I saw was made with spraypaint and stencils. It sounds like he was giving away stickers, but not via the internet.

  3. brian Says:

    Where in Chicago did you see a lot of these? I live up in Rogers Park, and haven’t come across any as of yet.

    A friend of mine has done a similar project in Houston and Madison called “Chicken Boy.” http://www.chicken-boy.org/

  4. spmat Says:

    While this “You are beautiful” campaign is interesting for a number of reasons, the OBEY campaign as well as most of the others seem based upon a contradiction laid out in fairly clear terms on the OBEY “manifesto” page.

    The OBEY sticker campaign can be explained as an experiment in Phenomenology. Heidegger describes Phenomenology as “the process of letting things manifest themselves.”

    How exactly can one experiment with “letting things manifest themselves” by actively manifesting them yourself?

  5. scott Says:

    Brian — Most of the photos seem to be from the Wicker Park and Logans Square areas, I think. I’m pretty sure I saw one the last time I was at The Gold Star on Division.

  6. Chris Says:

    I just found the site and realized what it was, but I’ve seen these stickers (and a big plastic sign) as far out as Portland, Oregon.

  7. Vvoi Says:

    in a course i took with the british theater/performance group Third Angel, we showed people clipboards with nice things written on them. a very enriching and interesting experience. one of the signs someone put was “you are beautiful”, but, as we later discussed, the personal approach makes it sometimes complicated, as if the person was making fun at the other person. here, by creating stickers, the sentence becomes anonymous and the problem disappears. then of course, it might make me smile – but it won’t do much more than that (then again, smiling is good).
    zombiegluesniffer Says:

    ridiculous and pointless

  8. nick Says:

    That’s another good idea for text to put on a widely-distributed and widely-applied sticker. I think you should go for it.

  9. scott Says:

    Perhaps the effects of all the glue sniffing have taken their toll on your personal beauty.

  10. zombiegluesniffer Says:

    yeah, i’m pretty ugly- that’s better.

    and i’d just rather a visual pun.


  11. josh g. Says:

    Now that is also awesome.

    (And mentioning that first instead of bashing ‘you are beautiful’ without giving a reason would’ve been much less annoying.)

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