Wednesday, October 10, 2012

AS IS: A Recap

With the AS IS install behind us, and all of the urban portraits claimed, many of you have been asking: What was the result? What was the response? So I thought I'd share a few statistic with you:

* I knew exactly 0 of the people that I painted before I began work on this project.

*Since painting and installing these 10 portraits, I have gotten to know 7 of the subjects, 2 very well.

* All 10 urban portraits were claimed by the 2nd day after they were installed. 

* 8 out of 10 of those portraits were claimed by the subjects themselves, or were removed from the installation sites and delivered by their friends and acquaintances. 

* 7 portraits were taken in broad daylight.  

* 3 were removed during the night.

* Only 1 painting was left exposed to the rain. This portrait was installed in front of an art gallery.

* 2 portraits were tethered to nearby objects to prevent them from being blown over. Both of those were among the 3 paintings taken at night.

* 1 portrait is confirmed stolen.

* 2 of the  portraits' whereabouts are unknown.

Here are the portraits listed in the order that they were claimed or taken:

It has been very humbling to hear your responses to this project. I wish that I could share every word that every one of you have written. Short of that though, I hope that you won't mind me copying a few favorite notes that I have received here. (I have abbreviated any signatures to protect the privacy of those who have written.)

"I just came across an article about you leaving Portraits  of Strangers on the Streets Where you Saw Them with a note: "IF THIS IS YOU, TAKE IT"!
Such a beautiful and simple thing... This is cool! Its like a memory of a moment on canvas. I got a chance to check out the art and it's stunning!
Congrats! I love your spirit!


"Dear Nicole,
I hope that you are flooded with emails praising you for your AS IS project!

I've been doing portraits since I was 12 years old and it's always been a dilemma to me that to be successful (monetarily), I would need to paint people who are rich enough to buy portraits. I'd like to make money (so I could paint for a living rather than write grants!), but I'd much rather have people see themselves as valuable enough to have a portrait.

I carry paper and pencil and draw people all the time, and if the person wants it, I just give them the drawing. I've had people who were so happy and grateful for this little gift. But your wonderful and inspired idea is so much grander! I LOVE seeing the story of Keith Cook.

I also really like your response to the biker who took the portrait, hoping that he is appreciating the life and dignity of the man behind it.

So, I hope that not only you are lavished with blessings in your life, but that the blessings that your portraits bring to people's lives are multiplied as they see themselves through your eyes.

Hurray for you!!!

Truly best regards,
L. C." 


"Dear Nicole,

"I was pleasantly surprised to see the beautiful portrait of Feno at Ben's Chili Bowl this morning.

Your work is magnificent, and the WHAT touched me deeply.

email subject line: "Thank you for Restoring My Faith in Humanity"
Text with picture of one of the installed portraits:
"I came across this painting on my morning walk. You made my day! :-))

Thank you again, Friends! I treasure every one of your responses. In fact, I think that the success of this project can be measured in no small part by the community of notice that has sprung up around it!

 I would love to continue sharing your thoughts here. Have found your portrait,  or bumped into a portrait of someone else somewhere around the city? Care to share? You can posts thoughts here or send an email to


  1. My husband is one of the people you painted(Pete at the wharf:0) I was astonished someone would be so selfless with their time and talent. I was absolutely shocked you would go out of your way to paint a stranger, a feat in itself, then go out of your way to try to make sure the person receives the painting. Your act of kindness left me speechless. The painting itself is beautiful but what it represents, even more so.
    Thanks for being a blessing and reminding others to allow themselves to be the same.
    My husband and I visited the Eastern Shore this weekend. As we paid the toll at the Bay bridge we paid the toll for the car behind us, telling the operator to tell them a stranger in DC had done a tremendous act of kindness for my husband and to try to pay it forward. They caught up with us miles later to inform us they surely would:0)...It's my hope that your kindness will cause a ripple effect(it already has, & we're not done yet;0)
    There are good people in this world, it's important to be one of them. Sincere thanks.

  2. Nicole,
    Thank you SO much for writing this. Your beautiful response to this project has truly made my day! I am absolutely glowing with happiness thinking of you (and then the people that you both touch) paying kindness forward!! This portrait project grew out of a desire to witness to the fact that we are all just people among other people, all of whom deserve recognition and love. Thank you for sharing in that witness with your own act of kindness!!
    All my best to you and your family,


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...