Matthew Hoffman radiates positivity. "you are beautiful" is an art installation to some, a way of life to others. What started as a simple message printed on a sticker a decade ago has grown to include large-scale murals and billboards all over the country. FLATS is proud to have Matthew's latest reminder of self-admiration at The Lawrence House. This "you are beautiful" is an LED sign that can only be read in the mirror. You will find it just off of the lobby, down the black hallway that leads to the public restrooms. Don't hesitate to stop and take a selfie, brownie points if you use #WeAreFlats.
As a kid I was always tinkering with things, taking them apart and putting them back together and building weird new things. We didn’t have a lot of money but I had a lot of time. Then in high school, a graphic design class changed my life. A lot of my work now is based on those tinkering and design elements.
It was when I moved to Chicago in 2002 that I created You Are Beautiful. I was on my own in a major city. It was exciting and overwhelming, and I was struck by the advertising and how it played on people’s insecurities. I wanted to say “don’t worry about it, you don’t need to be anything but yourself.”
A lot of the phrases in my text work are positive but they’re not meant to happy-go-lucky either. It’s more of a protest. I got to a point in life where I realized there was so much negativity in the world and I just wasn’t going to add to it anymore. We’ve all been through a lot, but it’s better to learn from it and focus on what you can build.