Westchester Chalk Billboard Invites Public To Ponder ‘Before I Die’
LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Elliot Kharkats is bringing the bucket list back to Southern California.
The Westchester resident has set up the local version of “Before I Die”, a global interactive public art project that invites people to write down any hopes, plans and resolutions they may have before this life is over.
The giant chalk billboard along the 8700 block of La Tijera near Manchester is just one of a number of “Before I Die” sites around the Southland, including in Irvine, Long Beach, and San Diego.
The movement began in 2011 after losing a loved one spurred artist and urban planner Candy Chang to paint the wall of an abandoned house in her New Orleans neighborhood with chalkboard paint and stencil it with a grid of the sentence, “Before I die I want to ______.”
After dozens of similar billboards began to spring up around the world, Kharkats told KNX 1070 NEWSRADIO he was inspired by the San Diego project to bring his own version closer to home – literally.
“I bought this house about two years ago, and it has this back gate, so the gate that you see is on the back of the house facing a main street, which is La Tijera Boulevard,” Kharkats said. “I thought that’s pretty much a perfect place to do that.”
With plenty of chalk and regular erasing on a weekly basis, the billboard – which is made up of primer, chalkboard paint, stencils, spray paint, and chalk – has drawn replies from the public ranging from “change the world” and “start a family” all the way to “I want to be a ninja.”
And while most participants are taking the project seriously, Kharkats said he initially feared local graffiti artists and pranksters would move to make their mark on the billboard first.
“My main concern was that it’s gonna get tagged, people are gonna write profanity on it, and I’ve seen nothing like that,” he said.
Click here for directions on how to find the Westchester “Before I Die” chalk billboard.