We recently met artist Killy Killford via Skype, as he spoke with Untapped Cities founder Michelle Young at the Fordham University conference Law, Urban Space, and the Future of Artistic Expression. Killy is the man behind Happy Signs, produced from his self-proclaimed Dept. of Well Being. Prompted by the sheer number, and the “do not” messaging of New York City street signs, the UK-native decided to take matter into his own hands. In the conference, he admits he moved to New York for a girlfriend, and needed something to do (if not a job). Installing positive street signs that said what he wanted like, “Honk Less, Love More,” and “New York Loves You,” he soon realized that if he added the words “Dept. of Well Being,” people would think the signs were legitimate.
Inspired by a story about the shooting death of teenagers in Newark, he decided the city across the Hudson would be the next place to spread his message. Through sheer effort and cold-calling, and eventually by cornering future mayor Ras Baraka, an official project of Happy Street Signs came to Newark in October 2014, with the title “Love Up Guns Down.” Take a look at the video for more from this happy project below. With all the violence o the streets of the country in the last year, seems like we need Killy Killford more than ever.