Upright Or Not, Chicago Artist Matthew Hoffman Brings His Positive Message to 35 Denton.
A freak windstorm busted through Denton late on Tuesday night, causing brief power outages throughout the city and knocking over part of a 100-foot-long “You Are Beautiful” sign and art installation posted on the rooftop of Dan's Silverleaf. Specifically, it was the “You” part that fell.
Originally, the piece, conceived by Chicago-based artist Matthew Hoffman, was to be displayed on Dan's Silverleaf's roof throughout this weekend's 35 Denton music festival. For now, though, the piece has been removed and other, more secure locations for its hosting are being considered, although no specific spot has yet been determined.
Wind troubles aside, though, the presence of that piece within the festival stands as an important part of the 35 Denton puzzle. In its fifth year, 35 Denton is no stranger to public art, of course. But the Hoffman installation was to be the festival's first large-scale piece that held a national presence, says festival creative director Kyle La Valley. And, certainly, with its placement on top of Dan's Silverleaf's roof, it was also set to be the most prominent public art display yet seen in the festival's history.
Credit La Valley for that vision, which has been a goal of hers since taking over the festival's creative director position last year. This year, to help see that goal come to fruition, she contacted her friend Anna Cernigilia, owner of the Chicago artistic outlet Johalla Projects, to try to brainstorm some ideas for large-scale artwork at the festival.
Cernigilia, in turn, contacted Hoffman, the textual-based artist behind the “You Are Beautiful” concept. Launched 10 years ago, the idea is simple enough — it just aims to spread a positive message to as many people as possible.
“One day, the light bulb went off and that phrase hung out,” Hoffman says over the phone from Chicago.
So he printed up 100 stickers and started handing them out around Chicago. Since, the movement has become an international sensation. Most notably and recently, Hoffman worked with the Pitchfork Music Festival to display a different large-scale piece titled “These Moments.”
“My dream would be to get this message into every single persons hands,” Hoffman says, though noting that impossibility of such a task.
Still, he's trying, which is why he launched a Kickstarter campaign earlier this year to secure funds for a book documenting his messages' reach. That book will include images of the Denton installation, which was built by members of the 35 Denton staff based on blueprints sent by Hoffman.
“I think that our ideas and work ethics coincide with each other,” La Valley says of Hoffman's work and process. “I just think it's a nice way to remind people while they're at the festival just to take a moment and remind themselves that they are beautiful and Denton is beautiful.”
No matter where that moment may take place.