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Hi, my name is Nicole and I’m a 29-year-old artist, writer, and human being living in Los Angeles. I’m working to put words that matter into the world so that people will remember that they matter, too. Sometimes this world makes me feel powerless and heartbroken, but this is my way of fighting back and trying to create compassionate change and space for real humans to find real healing in whatever ways they need to.

I started this project in 2010 in response to losing my father to suicide after a long battle with addiction and mental illness. The early days of this project looked like a 17-year-old me driving around my Iowa town with a journal and a bag of spray paint, stopping at abandoned buildings and warehouses to paint anonymous words of compassion and affirmation for others to find. In a lot of ways, this project saved my life. It became a way for me to alchemize trauma and practice creating beauty out of the hard parts of life. It became a way for me to write the words that I needed to hear to help me heal and share them in anonymous and public ways in hope that they would help other humans heal, too.

Since then, this project has grown in ways I never could’ve imagined. It has become my full-time job and received support from global corporations, donors, grants, media outlets, and individuals that make expansion possible. The writing in this project is always written, designed, and produced by me and is always shared in anonymous, free, and accessible ways. Through this project, I have shared tender yet honest poem-like affirmations on road-side billboards, airplane banners, semi-trucks, barges, urban wheat-pasted posters, stickers, yard signs, hand-made quilts, fliers, and murals all over the world. I have partnered with cities, schools, hospitals, prisons, and psychologists to integrate compassion into their operations and environments. I also work to create iterations of this work that humans can engage directly with in an intimate way - I have built "free flower shops" in public spaces and created a mailing service in which 60,000 people have received hand-addressed postcards with my written affirmations on them every month for over two years.

I have posted over 600 anonymous affirmation billboards so far, in addition to hundreds of other tangible integrations of visual compassion. This work has been experienced by over 60 million people world-wide and was awarded a life-time achievement OBIE award in 2020.

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