Project Optimism is a project run by artist and graphic designer, Reed Seifer. The project began when he wrote and illustrated a poem called Optimism, based on a childhood memory of his father, for his university thesis.
An optimist tell you to cheer up when things are going his way.
A middle-aged executive sits outside
the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
When the museum’s fountains have been
depleted of pennies, bums rummage through
the trash bins, picking up aluminum.
The executive finishes a soda,
and unlike one who goes to the barrel
farthest from the fountain,
he walks over to a bum, hands him his can
and says, “Here you go, sir.”
The bum says he’s no sir,
but the executive, he doesn’t have
the patience to argue.
He printed the poem onto drinking cans as an illustration and also printed badges with the word OPTIMISM on them and handed them out around the university to build anticipation in the run up to the exhibition. The badges were a huge hit and grew a life of their own, later being sold in various design shops around New York. Now they are available for sale online at the Reed Seifer Store at Supermarket along with some of his other artwork. You can buy a very cool jar of optimism, optimism stickers and some almost-free printable downloads of some optimistic sayings. My favourites are some of his other works, including limited edition $2 bills gold foil stamped with the words "New York is a lot of work" and Wish Piece - 6 selfish and unselfish wishes for sale by the artist.