The Urban Forest Project

The Urban Forest Project
brings 185 banners created by the world’s most celebrated designers, artists, photographers and illustrators to New York’s Times Square. Each banner uses the form of the tree, or a metaphor for the tree, to make a powerful visual statement. Together they create a forest of thought-provoking images at one of the world’s busiest, most energetic, and emphatically urban intersections. Following their display, (September 1—October 31, 2006) the banners will be recycled into tote bags and sold at auction, with proceeds going to scholarship and mentoring programs that benefit students of the visual arts. Some banners embody visceral responses to pressing environmental, political and social issues. Others use the evocative power of nature to develop rich patterns and abstract forms that delight the viewer. All contain passion, thought, and energy—qualities that only emerge when the world’s finest creative minds apply themselves to a brief they truly believe in.

This is like a graphic design Feed The World song to me and I can’t decide if that’s a good thing or a bad thing. On one hand, you get a bunch of talented (and awful, actually) designers and illustrators together to promote…aw hell I don’t know what the point is now that I’ve read that mission statement. To raise money to stick a big forest in the middle of NYC? As with most art and graphic design “artist statements”, the point is to be thought provoking without purpose. And to sell colorful tote bags to raise money for an invisible cause. At least say something like, “We’re trying to save the trees, man!” And these designers are helping children make posters also. I wonder what advice they’re offering to help.

DanInspirations08/18/06 4 comments


David • 08/23/06 9:43 AM:

Most of these are fantastic. Too many have those air fresheners deals on the poster. Not so creative. I like this one with the little birdies the best. And I also like the Chinese character ones for TREE, that also include the symbol for HUMAN. And changes meaning depending on how many there are. Cool.

Patrick • 08/24/06 10:41 PM:

Frankly, I think most of these are rather cookie-cutter formulaic. And is that plain-white one a missing file, or did the “designer” want to “mean” something by it? I remember the Joker once did a plain-white-canvas “painting” on the ’60s Batman TV series. I thought it was pretty stupid when I was 7 years old. I think it’s really stupid now.

Dad • 08/25/06 12:51 PM:

I bet those “air freshener” people all thought they were being really clever. I kind of like the Chrysler building with roots and the chopped down bar code. The worste is that Elena Lavache & Elizabeth Ward human body thingy.

Dan • 09/05/06 8:45 PM:

I just came across a really cool banner, Poetree. I’m a bit jealous because it totally could be the cover of the book I’m designing (that Pat translated), Everything is Connected. Oh well. My cover will be cool also.

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