Public Opinions Matter

Have you ever wanted to interview the public and get their opinion about changes they would make in America?

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The Purpose

In 2013 I, Mark Boehly studied graffiti in my senior thesis class at Portland State University. I was inspired by an artist named Steve Powers. He painted fifty murals on the rooftops of West Philadelphia. Each mural was a part of a fictional love story where a man was trying to get the attention of a woman who rides the nearby train. The series was called “A love letter for you.”

In my thesis class, I had to brainstorm and execute a fictional project of my own as if it were a real event. I decided to use a similar model as Powers only my story would relate to current events. I wanted to know more about the people that surround us every day and give them a voice that could be expressed through art. Part of my commute to school was to ride the Green Line Max. I surveyed over fifty passengers’ and asked them “if you could change one thing in America what would it be?”

After the survey was completed I realized a lot of people had the same views. I choose the best opinions and designed a series of posters out of their answers. I wanted the design to be as raw as possible so I went with a hand-drawn look using stacked typography. I branded the event and created a DA monogram using the projects question as the tagline. This logo was strategically placed inside each of the posters so they could stand alone if needed.

The designs were printed on large four foot black and white posters. To keep the project authentic, I made homemade glue known as wheatpaste and sealed the posters to a tarp for mobility.

The Final Steps

I originally wanted to break the opinions up and display them in different areas around Portland. But due to legal issues, I decided it would be easier to stitch the tarp together so all the answers could be displayed side by side. The final location of the project was near the Lloyd Center in Portland, Oregon. This area was chosen because it was the main Max stop where the survey first took place. The location also had an easy access fence where the banner was strung up. It was directly facing the commuters on the train and easily seen by pedestrians in the area.

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