June 25, 2011 READ ME!

Washington City Paper's Molly McGinley came up with a new twist on public art: commission Pyramid Atlantic to turn 10 of their streetboxes into works of art. Marty Ittner and Ellen Smyth, as representatives of their "Design Divas" group were selected to paint a box. Clearly the box would be graphic and feature typography. Marty thought the box should say "READ", but Ellen suggested that  the addition of "ME" was more powerful, especially when they realized ME contained their initials (Marty + Ellen). Both remember designing before computers, and call themselves "Paper Dinosaurs".

They meticulously planned out the multilayered sequence which required seven applications of spray paint. Both felt strongly about juxtaposing the randomness of the stencils with the precise large letters, which were cut out of adhesive vinyl by General Imaging. The box took over 40 hours to complete. The pair of  designers met in 1992 while working at AURAS Design, then located on Kalorama Road in Adams Morgan, which is ironically where their READ ME! box will be installed.

See the READ ME! box in front of Tryst, 2459 18th St, NW, Washington, DC. Vote for your favorite box until the end of August.