Joe Dellosa

Personal Projects

Things Are Going to Be Okay (Panda Flyers)

Notes & Context

I first created and posted these flyers at the end of my sophomore fall semester of college. The project went over pretty well, and several friends encouraged me to do it again in December 2008 and 2009. Below is a Facebook note I wrote about the project in December 2007.

By the way, just in case it matters: The original Panda Flyers had eleven tear-off tabs at the bottom; using Space Age Technology™, the improved 2008 and 2009 flyers were able to squeeze in two additional tabs. The 2008/2009 flyer is depicted in the first image below.

And, one last thing: I only recently stumbled upon this panda shirt from A Softer World; those shirts appear to have been created in 2009 (and weren't on sale in 2006, 2007, or 2008), so I'm reasonably sure these flyers came first. Yes, I'm ridiculous for actually checking.

So, here’s my latest flyer art project:

click to enlarge

If it seems simple, that’s because it is. It’s the sentence “Things are going to be okay” in big letters; below that, a serene-looking clip art panda bear; and below that, eleven (now thirteen) pull-off tabs with the same sentence. The idea was conceived and executed in the same hour.

I remembered last year, particularly in October and December, that I could have used a few reassurances—even from a random stranger—that things would be okay. I mean, I’m aware that things have a tendency to be okay, but exams and the stress of being in a new city have a way of making things seem a lot bleaker than they actually are. So, this year, I thought I’d try to be that random stranger, and about two dozen flyers later, I was.

The trouble with anonymous flyer art projects is that they’re hard to track. In a couple of previous projects, there was at least a website URL in tiny print at the bottom. This one, not so much. And I was curious, so I tracked it the only way I could think of—straining to remember where I put the flyers up and walking to each them. I interpreted each pulled-off tab as a vote of “I liked this,” or, at least, “I see what you’re doing here.”

One of the unwritten rules I have for my flyer art projects is one of non-interference. Once they’re up, it’s now a community art project, and people can do what they want with them—even if it’s a specific rejection of it. There isn't vandalism; just feedback.

And there was feedback. There were plenty of tabs pulled off, which made me smile (and wonder what exactly folks are doing with the tabs). In the music building, one person added “…but only if Mutlu says so.” In the Plaza of the Americas, somebody made the panda bear a bloodthirsty killer with a red Sharpie and added the word “not” before “going.” I was amused.

But when I saw one flyer, I broke my rule of non-interference. I took down the flyer, replaced it with a fresh one, and kept the original one. It’s sitting on my desk right now:

click to enlarge

Somebody had written “Whoever did this—thank you” on the flyer. And it made me aww. I don’t doubt that these flyer art projects are time wasted, but now, I have an easier time asserting to myself that they’re time well wasted.

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