Before I Die… Street artist Candy Chang asks “What will you do?”

Before I Die... Street artist Candy Chang asks
Before I Die... Street artist Candy Chang asks "What will you do?"

NEW ORLEANS, January 20, 2014— In some cases, for a piece of modern art to be truly appreciated, it has to change the viewer’s perspective on life, if only for a second. Candy Chang’s “Before I Die” project does just that, incorporating both intrigue and tact into her idea.

On the outer concrete of the Ogden Museum of Southern Art, off of Camp Street, spans a dark chalkboard wall— printed in rows of seven, the phrase, “Before I die I want to,” neatly covers the duration of the space, leaving room for answers from passerby. Smudged in every hue imaginable, the building’s surface transforms into a canvas for strangers to leave samples of their personalities to the public eye. From crude jokes to sincere hopes, the “Before I Die” project presents pedestrians with an opportunity to contemplate life for a few minutes. 

Not only does Chang’s wall permit an introspective moment in oneself, but also provides a glimpse at the desires of the surrounding population.

One line reads, “Before I die, I want to walk down the aisle to you.” Another says, “Before I die, I want to perfect something that the world will appreciate.”

The artist originally presented the city, often viewed as harsh and vicious, the chance to bare its soul on a chalkboard in 2011. After suffering from the loss of someone close to her heart, Chang was inspired to soul-search. The end result of her meditations encouraged her to attempt the social project. Chalkboards soon dominated the side of an abandoned house in the community and the New Orleans neighborhood answered her call. Her successful undertaking now connects over  sixty countries across the globe in pure human self-examination.

Her website outlines a more intimate account of her history and displays an abundance of snapshots of her walls worldwide. Additionally, she posts other projects of hers, which include anonymous confessions, a literal career path, and deep-seated wishes.

Chang is currently selling “Before I Die,” a collection of chalkboard photographs from New York to Paraguay to South Korea. Those interested in setting up a wall for their own town can consult the website, where specific instructions and a tool kit can be ordered for $125 online. 

Sometimes, humans need a reminder that we’re still human. Candy Chang’s “Before I Die” wall is an excuse to indulge in a daily dose of passion, whether you’re 20 years old and idealistic or 70 years old and seasoned. 

Click here for reuse options!
Copyright 2014 Communities Digital News

• The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the editors or management of Communities Digital News.

This article is the copyrighted property of the writer and Communities Digital News, LLC. Written permission must be obtained before reprint in online or print media. REPRINTING CONTENT WITHOUT PERMISSION AND/OR PAYMENT IS THEFT AND PUNISHABLE BY LAW.

Correspondingly, Communities Digital News, LLC uses its best efforts to operate in accordance with the Fair Use Doctrine under US Copyright Law and always tries to provide proper attribution. If you have reason to believe that any written material or image has been innocently infringed, please bring it to the immediate attention of CDN via the e-mail address or phone number listed on the Contact page so that it can be resolved expeditiously.