Church uses a biologically friendly superhydrocoating to paint inspirational phrases on sidewalks. The image is visible only when wet. Church doesn’t think of himself as an artist. Instead, he thinks of himself as someone who creates novel things to make people smile and take them outside of their life — just for a moment.
Church came up with the idea of Rain Activated Art as a way to delight people. He long envisioned using some kind of coating to paint art or phrases in front of bus stops or on walls, and being able to watch as the art came alive right as the rain came down. “I wanted to make art for suited for Seattle,” he said. “And it always rains.”
With a $1,000 grant from the Awesome Foundation, Church spent time researching non-toxic, safe, biodegradable coating he could spray on sidewalks with a stencil. After a couple of tests, he found a perfect solution in a coating called AlwaysDry. Invisible when dry, AlwaysDry wicks away the water, leaving the surface underneath dry when wet. The difference in contrast between wet cement and dry cement is the perfect medium to stencil simple phrases or drawings. And since there’s plenty of wet cement in Seattle, Church has no lack of art space.
“I thought it would be fun do do all over Seattle,” he said. “If people have a reason to look forward to the rain, that would be really cool. That’s something special for a rainy day.”
Church’s first piece, stencil art that features rain drops and the words “Stay dry out there,” is located in West Seattle at a California Street bus stop. He quickly made another piece, a hopscotch outline, not far from the first. He said most passersby were confused, wondering why Church was taking time to spray a clear coating onto the sidewalk. Only when it rained days later did people really take notice. “I saw a girl playing hopscotch on my second one,” Church said. “That was pretty special.” “If two strangers see something novel together, it makes them more likely to strike up a conversation,” Church said.
Next, Church plans to draw an Orca or seal near Seattle’s waterfront. Soon, he hopes to dot the city with inspirational quotes and little pictures, visible only when it rains. He hopes people notice the pieces and enjoy the novelty together.
For more information on Rain Activated Artwork visit the Reddit thread, or contact Church via his Twitter account, @CreateToConnect.