Art And Culture

Water-Activated Street Art in Seattle

Water-Activated Street Art in SeattleWater-Activated Street Art in Seattle

Seattle is home to two of the biggest names in the tech industry, Microsoft and Amazon, but it’s also known for being one of the wettest cities in the US. One local artist is using a little technology and a lot of innovation in creating street art designed to cheer up his fellow Seattleites on rainy days.

Rainworks is what Peregrine Church, 22, is calling the series of invisible street art pieces littering Seattle, that are invisible most of the time but appear out of nowhere once it starts to rain. Church achieves the effect using superhydrophobic coatings, a technology inspired by the waterproofing found on lotus leaves and the feet of geckos, Techtimes reported.

Superhydrophobic coatings are materials that can make any surface completely water repellent. Church sprays concrete pavements around Seattle with a superhydrophobic spray called “Always Dry” using large stencils that he creates. 24 hours later the sections of the pavement sprayed are completely waterproof. When it starts to rain, the wet concrete pavement darkens in color but the sections covered in the coating remain light colored and dry, revealing Church’s art.

“We’ve made, like, 30,” Church said. “Twenty of them are still around because they fade eventually. They last between four months and a year depending on the level of foot traffic and how well we applied it.”

His messages are all positive, inspirational, designed to make people smile while they wait for a bus. “We make rainworks to give people a reason to look forward to rainy days,” Church says on his website. “It’s going to rain anyway. Why not do something fun with it”. The site also includes a map that shows the locations of various rainworks around the Seattle area.

“This started off as something that I just wanted to do to make the world a happier place. It’s the sort of thing that makes me happy,” he said. But now it’s turned into a full-time job for him because he is also getting commissioned pieces.