Seattle is famous for its damp weather, which often causes complications when it comes to keeping things in outdoor spaces in good shape. The awful weather can also bum people out after a long period of rain. Some inventive locals, though, came up with Rainworks to use the rain to beautify the city and to spread positive messages.
Peregrine Church and Xack Fischer, street artists and “partner[s]-in-shenanigans,” created the Rainworks series. The pieces in the series feature water-activated street artworks that only appear when the surface they’re painted on becomes wet. Their goal is to make people feel a tad cheerier on gray, rainy days.
These images are created using superhydrophobic coatings painted on sidewalks, buildings, and other surfaces. “Superhydrophobic” means the material is super water-repellent; while the rest of the surface becomes darkened as it soaks up water, the places coated with the hydrophobic material stay dry and lighter in color as the images become visible.
The coatings are biodegradable and environmentally safe, so there’s no danger to the surrounding ecosystems or water. The pieces eventually wear away, but can last up to a year depending on the weather and how heavily trafficked an area is. Rainworks are also completely legal in Seattle, since they’re temporary and don’t advertise anything.
Aside from their positive messages, some images also encourage environmentally-friendly practices.
Watch a video about the creation and curation of the Rainworks series below.
If you’re ever in Seattle and find yourself in the rain, try to find any of the Rainworks pieces. If you’re in a rainy climate, you can even make some yourself, using waterproofing coatings on your driveway or sidewalk. You can also check out the latest Rainworks on Church’s website, or follow along on Facebook.