Artist Matthew Hoffman brings positive messages of affirmation to the new You Are Beautiful experience.
Chicago-based artist Matthew Hoffman first launched You Are Beautiful back in 2002, with 100 stickers promoting that powerful three-word message and a goal to help people feel better every day. Twenty years later, what began as a passion project has exploded into an art movement, with 8.5 million stickers in 100 languages distributed and over 100 permanent public works installed around the world.
But what hasn’t changed is the intent of the project: to remind us individually of our self-worth and to encourage us to be there for each other. It is a message that couldn’t be more relevant today.
According to the World Health Organization, during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic alone, anxiety and depression driven by isolation and fear increased globally by 25%. Now, with mental health awareness increasingly in the spotlight, Brookfield Properties has partnered with Matthew Hoffman to bring a brand-new You Are Beautiful tour to eight Brookfield Properties shopping centers across the country.
Timed to coincide with Mental Health Awareness Month and designed to spark a conversation about wellness, self-care, and body positivity, the You Are Beautiful experience is both an artistic achievement and an engineering feat. Constructed piece by piece and laser-cut at Hoffman's Chicago studio, the enormous wood blocks are then shipped in freight trucks to their destinations. "Sometimes, we joke that we're just a moving company," Hoffman says.
The main structure, a 10-foot-high by 13-foot-wide wall with laminate overlay, features a series of oversized painted wood You Are Beautiful messages on one side, with a self reflection mirror on the other side.
A second 10-foot by 13-foot structure features a four-color printer sticker collage on one side and an affirmantion wall on the other, where visitors can leave messages about how the exhibition impacted them. Those messages will become part of the tour, so that when it ends at The SoNo Collection in late October, visitors will be able to read affirmations and thoughts from people across the country.
We need each other more than ever right now. We are each other's community."
Moments of motivation seats — painted two-foot by 18-inch wood blocks — offer another way to experience the activation and yet another opportunity for conversation.
With affirming messages like “You Are Worthy,” “You Are Inspiring,” “You Are Essential,” and “You Are Loved,” Hoffman’s inspirational art speaks to the individual, but ultimately is meant to foster a sense of community. “We need each other more than every right now,” Hoffman says. “We are each other’s community.”
It’s a message that is a key part of the fabric of Brookfield Properties’ retail business. Our shopping centers are more than just marketplaces to shop, they’re gathering places where people can share experiences and platforms that enrich local communities.
As the latest featured artist in our Creator Lab, a Brookfield Properties' program that gives artists a platform to showcase their talents by turning ordinary spaces into colorful canvases, Hoffman will have the opportunity to connect with and inspire new audiences through his word-driven art. With a lofty goal of bringing a You Are Beautiful installation to every state in the U.S., Hoffman is well on his way as he unveils the new Brookfield Properties' You Are Beautiful experience.