Some people hate the rain. It casts a gloomy, grey shadow over their day, makes them run from place to place, and generally gives them a gross, squishy feeling in their shoes. But for Peregrine Church, rain is just another opportunity to make the world a better place.
The Seattle-based artist was browsing the internet one day when he came across a miraculous substance called NeverWet, a spray-on chemical that doesn’t allow the surface on which it is applied to get wet. Instead, the water or liquid washes away, leaving the surface completely dry. There’s videos of it online that show people in white shirt’s getting doused in red wine to literally no effect. And since the product is environmentally-friendly and non-toxic, it can be used on pretty much any surface to keep it dry without any nasty side effects.
And while Church probably got a kick out of watching this miracle substance, he soon thought of an even cooler way to use it. Not to keep clothing dry and stain-free, but to make people’s rainy days a bit less gloomy.
Church created a project called RainWorks, a special street art project that uses this miracle substance to make street art that only shows up when it rains. Based in Seattle, that can be a pretty frequent occurrence, but one that can still brighten someone’s day.
Church’s process is fairly straight forward. He loads the chemicals up into spray bottles and designs stencils that can placed on the sidewalk, his favourite medium for RainWorks. With a few sprays from the bottle, the piece is set and, come the next rainy day, people passing by can catch a glimpse of this invisible and uplifting art.
The first RainWorks was simple: a sign that said “Stay Dry Out There” at a bus stop with some (ironically enough) completely dry patches of sidewalk that looked like raindrops. There’s now over 30 RainWorks pieces scattered throughout Seattle, and they vary in size, scope, and style. But every single one of them is about giving people a positive message on their rainy days. Some are little jokes, like one that says “Today’s forecast: rain,” while others are a bit more inspirational, like an elaborate mural with rainbows and lightning that says “Worry is a misuse of the imagination.” Still others are interactive, like the hopscotch. No matter what they are, Church has the same attitude: It’s going to rain no matter what, so why not have some fun with it?
RainWorks is a beautiful and ingenious project that combines technological innovation with positive imagery for something that’s fun, new, and aimed at brightening people’s days. It’s not overtly political or alienating, it isn’t attempting to be something it isn’t, it simply is. And in that simple idea, there is beauty and encouragement. Rainy days aren’t the end of the world, but they can be gloomy for some people. And maybe when they stumble upon RainWorks, they’ll get a little smile and remember that life isn’t so bad after all.