Lindsay DeAlba believes what she is getting from her art is worth more than money. Follow Lindsay’s project on Instagram @Lindsaydotart. (Story originally published on NBC Bay Area, 7/21/15)
My life has always been a project to find happiness. I’ve always been on the pursuit of cultivating positive emotions through sports and art. It’s a day-to-day challenge and it’s definitely not easy – I work at it! Recently, this world has seemed sad, and excuse me if I say “ugly.” With that being said, it’s hard to work on your own positivity when your surroundings feel unearthed. How do we rectify the world’s state of being? What can we do? And, will it matter?
Michelle Obama said, “You may not always have a comfortable life and you will not always be able to solve all of the world’s problems at once but don’t ever underestimate the importance you can have because history has shown us that courage can be contagious and hope can take on a life of its own.” Happiness is defined as, the state of being happy. Through my life, and Paint The World Pretty I have defined my own happiness. It has taken me 31 years to understand, and finally I can say I comprehend this elusive emotion, my happiness is, making other people happy.
One night, as I was sitting in my art studio, surrounded by my pieces, my colors, my compositions, my….what I thought was my main source of bliss, I thought to myself, “This art makes me happy, it could make other people happy too!” This is when Project Happiness: Paint the World Pretty was born. It’s simple idea that turned into a small social movement. FREE art, created by myself is dropped in different communities. The recipient’s only payment is to “pay it forward” and do something nice for someone else.Flash-forward a few weeks, a small project started by one, has spread to 15 states and 5 countries with people enthusiastically expressing their interest in making a change. So I have packed up, and shipped out art and instructions to share the love.
Not one person, or a small social movement will solve the world’s problems at once, but courage can be contagious. I’d like to acknowledge, that I didn’t invent the wheel. (Darn it!) Artists have been dropping and hiding “found art” for years with different motives and desires for doing so. Admittedly, mine, started off in the pursuit of my own happiness.
San Carlos, California, my hometown, was the first site to have art dropped. I hid over 20 paintings all around town, on benches, in bushes, anywhere I wanted. It was like an Easter egg hunt but with paintings. I dreamt I was painting the world a better place, one free painting at a time. I had no idea that my fantasy could be a reality.
Shortly after, I received pictures, text messages, and overall gratitude from the community. I opened my email to a gracious letter, from a recipient of my work. She wrote, “At 63, I had never had such a wonderful thing happen to me in my whole life.” She carried on to say that she still couldn’t believe it. Staring at the email, I couldn’t believe it. I was painting the world a prettier place, one free painting at a time. I made one person feel happy and it mattered. And in return I realized I had found my own happiness. I know that the other people involved in the project feel the same way, it feels good to help others.
Project Happiness: Paint the World Pretty is not going to rectify the worlds state of being, but we can make small gestures of love and in the end, it will matter, because we tried and we had hope.