Seizing Opportunity in Times Square

Bill­board­lo­ca­tion at 42nd Street (the big one on the top), close to Madame Tussauds

Preparing for the Stage: Billboard Pursuit

In ear­ly March 2003, the US Gov­ern­ment announced an upcom­ing speech by Pres­i­dent G.W. Bush, in which he would dis­cuss the nation’s progress regard­ing Iraq. It was antic­i­pat­ed that the US might issue a final ulti­ma­tum to Iraq, poten­tial­ly lead­ing to war if their con­di­tions were not met. Rec­og­niz­ing the oppor­tu­ni­ty to gar­ner media atten­tion, I decid­ed to pur­sue a bill­board space in Times Square just before the speech. Despite the chal­lenges of bal­anc­ing work com­mit­ments, I col­lab­o­rat­ed with my agent to scout for suit­able loca­tions. Even­tu­al­ly, we secured a spot on 42nd Street near Madame Tus­sauds that fit with­in my budget.

Mid­week, I gath­ered with friends to brain­storm addi­tion­al art­work ideas, aim­ing to max­i­mize the impact of the bill­board. By Thurs­day, I had final­ized a sim­ple ver­sion of the orig­i­nal «I love you» art­work idea. How­ev­er, after receiv­ing feed­back sug­gest­ing the inclu­sion of an anti-war mes­sage, I briefly mod­i­fied the art­work to read «We are made by love not war.» Yet, the bill­board com­pa­ny reject­ed this alter­ation, prompt­ing a return to the orig­i­nal «LOVE» con­cept, which aligned with my ini­tial vision.

Navigating Obstacles: Financial Challenges

How­ev­er, an unex­pect­ed obsta­cle arose when my agent informed me of addi­tion­al expens­es required for installing the bill­board, exceed­ing my bud­get. With my sav­ings already deplet­ed and lim­it­ed spon­sor­ship, I faced a finan­cial short­fall. For­tu­nate­ly, a friend in New York ral­lied sup­port by orga­niz­ing ten indi­vid­u­als to each con­tribute $400 for spon­sor­ship, lead­ing to their names being fea­tured on the artwork.

To expe­dite pro­duc­tion and instal­la­tion in time for the speech, I trans­ferred all remain­ing funds to New York on Fri­day after­noon, leav­ing my bank account emp­ty. That same evening, our local news­pa­per ran a sto­ry pre­view­ing the bill­board for their Sat­ur­day issue. On Sat­ur­day, I trav­eled to New York accom­pa­nied by my room­mate for on-site sup­port. Despite the last-minute nature of our arrange­ments, we secured accom­mo­da­tions and enjoyed a mem­o­rable Sat­ur­day night out in New York City.