Shiny Happy People Populating Downtown

August 15th, 2014

This cool street art project caught our eye and we definitely wanted to share it with you, so we reached out to the artist, Pete Petrisko, to get the scoop on what it all means.  

Shiny Happy People Happening is a city-centered conceptual art street project, where anybody can “experience tomorrow’s art of downtown livin’… today” by spotting one (or more) of 93 silver and gold one-inch figures, semi-permanently attached to our urban landscape throughout downtown Phoenix. There is no specific list of locations, just this loose direction: “(From) Jackson to Roosevelt Streets, between the 7s (Ave/St).”

But for those who like spoilers: the fewest number are nearest the 7th Ave/Jackson corner, and the sculptural “population density” increases as you approach downtown center (which, for the sake of argument, let’s say is somewhere near Chase Tower) and/or when you near higher “pedestrian traffic” areas.

While everybody loves the street art you can see from a block away in downtown Phoenix, let’s not forget the joys of finding art that’s literally hidden in plain sight. Providing a more detailed map would kind of defeat that purpose. As far as where they could be sitting or standing, discovery is often found in the urban details.

Remember, one-inch folks will avoid actual benches and public walkways, because they don’t want to be accidentally crushed by a giant! However, just look around. Where on or near buildings, or other urban objects in our downtown-scape, might they be… hidden in plain sight?

There are no exact answers, but the best plan might include bringing a child with you. They are much better at spotting tiny shiny objects than your average adult, and this public art is family-friendly because the fun of “discovery in the details” has no age limit!

Shiny Happy Factoids

Total number of new sculptural residents downtown: 93

Time spent to install ‘em: Four hours

Cost of project: Under twenty bucks

Results: Priceless

With the above helpful hints and useless factoids in mind, you might be asking yourself, “Is this downtown adventure for me?”  “Are pictures allowed?” or “Didn’t I read about something like this in Mary Norton’s The Borrowers?

Perhaps you’re thinking, “Is this a memorial to artists migrating out of downtown as their actually-affordable-to-artists housing options dwindle?” or even “Does this have anything to do with culture becoming an ornament for gentrification, like in Jamming the Gentrification Machine: A Manifesto?”

Or, more likely you’re thinking, “Why are you telling me this? Did I ever even once claim to be a fan of conceptual art of any kind?”

These are all excellent questions. The short answer is “Quite possibly.”

And it’s the best possible answer when the spectacle of Shiny Happy People Happening awaits discovery!

Meet Pete Petrisko.

Photos by Pete Petrisko.