Ron Blake has become known, especially in his central Phoenix neighborhood, as the guy with the boards.
His medium is the engagement he’s had with 28,236 strangers over the last 1,218 days (as of March 13, 2019). Those interactions are expressed with social practice art on 431 giant foam poster boards.
The artwork began with a moment of laughter on a suicidal night for the artist.
That started the 9,700 hour quixotic journey to become a guest on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert to celebrate that laughter and raise awareness for sexual assault, PTSD, and domestic violence. All issues the artist experienced from a trauma that almost killed him.
Blake’s cross country journey of PTSD/sexual assault recovery and reaching this symbolic goal has involved meeting all those complete strangers. The engagement has created 3,600 square feet of amazing stories of hope and support that are written in 89 languages and with 27 Sharpie marker colors.
Blake gave a TEDx talk about the artwork and innovative quest. There was also an Emmy nominated documentary produced about the creation of the artwork.