Giving Away Art Is Made of Happy

Bren Bataclan’s cheerful cartoon creatures have been exhibited in some high places: at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, in Logan International Airport and even on a Girl Scout patch.

But lately he’s been leaving his artwork outside unemployment offices and closed-down retail stores across the country bearing the note: “Everything is Going to Be Alright – This Painting is Yours to Take.”

“The economy is so bad now. People are losing their jobs, so this is how I can help,” said Bataclan, 39, as he propped an acrylic painting of a horned creature with googly eyes and fangs next to an Embarcadero BART ticket machine on Friday.


Since 2003, the Smile Boston Project has taken him around the world. Wanderers have found his paintings at the Eiffel Tower, on park benches in Japan, at Graceland, along the canals of Venice, in penguin territory in Antarctica, on a cafe table in New York.

“I never in my life thought I would be doing this full time, but it’s the best job I’ve ever had,” Bataclan said.

A newlywed who adored, but couldn’t afford one of Bataclan’s paintings of a husband and wife later found the art piece on a park bench. The first person to take a free Bataclan had just had her first chemotherapy treatment.

via Boston artist leaves paintings in S.F. for free.

See his art (I couldn’t find any photos of his art that I would be allowed to post here) and the rest of his project at They are incredibly cute. The SF Gate article above had a video segment where people find his art at the Embarcadero BART station: video link.

He leaves a note with the paintings that says, “this painting is yours if you promise to smile at random people more often.” On his site, you can see the stories of people who have found his paintings. 

Thanks, Bren Bataclan, for being so awesome and giving people a little bit of a bright spot in these dreary times. You are not only made of happy, but you’ve made others happy.


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