Getting people to smile

It may be bit of a tall order – getting people to smile, and  spread  cheer,  in trouled times such as the present  economic meltdown.  But it hasn’t deterred Bren Bataclan from trying.  In fact he has made it one of his life’s social  missions to engage,  literally,  people on the street to spread a bit of cheer around their neighbourhoods.  And here is how he goes about doing it.

 Boston-based ‘smile artist’  Bren Bataclan  leaves his paintings  around in public places for the taking.  The catch is in the note stuck to his paintings, which says, ‘This  painting is yours,  if you promise  to smile at random  people,  more often’.

Folks who pick them up are asked to e-mail Bren how and where they found his painting and what they felt about his idea. The  Filipino-American calls his excercise Smile Boston Project.  In his website  Bren says he leaves his paintings  at employment agencies,  hospitals,   stores and commercial estabishments that are about to close down under recession.  Folks who frequent these places  need cheering up.  And the ones who pick up Bren’s paintings feel obliged to walk the extra mile to spread smiles around them.  Bren says the purpose of  his paintings, and rather the unique  way of their disposal, is to make people in Boston and beyond smile more. positive_thinking_articleA graphics designer with masters degree in computer  animation Bren reportedly turns out 25 paintings every  week to be placed  at  sidewalks,  park benches, airport terminals, trains,  senior citizens’ centers etc. His cartoon-like paintings have found their way to many US cities and abroad.  It is said Bren has had his friends carry his paintings to be placed on  public space in New York,  San Francisco,  Djibouti,  Cambodia, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and his native Manila.

It’s about giving,  sharing, and spreading smiles around, says Bren.  His  Smile Boston Project website  makes a cheerful read ,  of feedback from follks who picked up his paintings;  media reports, and  blog posts.  I reckon I am the 36th blogger to do a post on Bren Bataclan