On a thick black pole on K Street, there’s an image of Smoky the Bear wearing a surgical mask, surrounded by the words “Only you can prevent COVID-19 . . . Stay Home.” The eerie warning was created by artist Julian Sandpaper with the use of a stencil and a spritz of temporary spray paint.
“I wanted to put my creative energy into something that people could see and benefit and learn from,” Sandpaper says. “I’m coming up with new messages, too, to sprinkle around the city.”
Messages such as “Six feet apart. Never been closer,” and “Social distance makes the heart grow fonder” may pop up on a sidewalk or bus stop near you.
Under Sacramento County’s stay-at-home order, Sandpaper admits to feeling isolated. Creating street art is his way of communicating with people while trying to keep the community engaged.
“I’ve been handing out stencils, stickers and cans of temporary paint, and people are going all around the city and spreading that message,” he says. “I’ve sent stencils to nine different states now. As an artist, I’m taking in the world around me. Seeing the streets so empty is the perfect time to run around creating street art.”
Follow Sandpaper: instagram.com/julian_sandpaper