Keep calm and look up, Sunnyside. That’s the message behind one artist’s new interactive project hitting the skies of the western Queens neighborhood.
The organization 14×48 revealed its latest public art project with Brooklyn artist Margeaux Walter on Tuesday on a billboard located on Greenpoint Avenue between 45th and 46th streets.
The project, “Keep Calm Billboard,” features a collection of different uses of the slogan “Keep Calm and Carry On” covered all over the vacant space and will be up for a minimum of four weeks.
Walter decided to use the slogan in reference to advertising and consumer culture. The slogan originated in the British Stationary Office during World War II and was created as war propaganda but never distributed.
She added that she was given several options for locations, but chose Sunnyside because it is close to where she lives and a community she frequently visits.
“The slogan is not one that fits into a specific class or ethnicity of people, but rather is universally recognized and used,” Walter said. “I wanted the billboard to be in a neighborhood that was both multicultural, and also in a commercial and heavily trafficked pedestrian area.”
Walter is also inviting people to tweet their own “Keep Calm” message with the hashtag #keepcalm14x48. The tweets will then be made into postcards and distributed along Greenpoint Avenue and at Ave Coffee House, located at 45-01 Greenpoint Ave.
The messages will also be available as a Twitter feed at https://www.14×48.org/campaigns.html#campaign7.
“My hopes is that people will tweet their messages, and then grab a postcard from another community member, turning this advertising slogan into a personalized message,” Walter said. “In turn the voices of community members will be a form of advertising campaign, one that is actually about the individual and not the consumer.”
This installation is 14×48’s seventh project in the city. The organization repurposes vacant billboards as public art space in order to open the door for emerging artists to have more opportunities in public art and to brighten the urban environment.