In November of 2010, signs were posted around Manhattan offering a reward for the return of a ‘missing unicorn’. They showed a photo of a beautiful white unicorn, described as a “large female with a friendly disposition” last seen entering Central Park.
Obviously I’m a bit late coming to this story – but am grateful to a summer encore of CBC’s Definitely Not the Opera that tuned me into this.
Host Sook-Yin Lee interviewed Camomile Hixon, the artist behind the production and dissemination of the missing unicorn signs. She had been inspired to start the project after seeing the despair that was hanging over Wall Street and much of Manhattan. She was looking for something to make people smile, to get them thinking about magic or the possibility of it.
Not surprisingly, the signs soon went viral and Hixon was receiving calls and photos from around the world as people ‘reported’ seeing signs of the missing unicorn. The magic spread.
Hixon told a funny story about a formal ‘cease and desist’ letter she received from the police department – apparently posting signs around Manhattan is illegal – the letter warned that she must remove all signs or face a penalty of thousands of dollars. It added that the unicorn was being kept in a holding cell.
I love hearing about art projects that seek not just to bring attention to the artist, but to inspire, to warm hearts, to encourage.
A friend of mine has been sending me links she comes across about yarn bombing – even some that combine yarn bombing with guerrilla gardening. Love this sort of anonymous art – it’s sort of like charity, a giving of oneself (and one’s talents) for the good of others.
There is so much ugliness and despair in our lives. The death of Jack Layton yesterday brought out a collective mourning that was about more than just the man. I think it was about mourning the loss of a figure of optimism, courage and strength.
I would love to come up with some ‘missing unicorn’ type equivalent idea which could bring smiles and hope to people beyond the reach of my arms. I love the idea of spreading a little magic.